Four pieces of advice for writers

Just a quick post today on ideas that I’ve heard along the way, and I’m not sure who first said them. In fact two of the ideas came from my brother.

“The art of writing is the application of bum to seat.” Some days you’ve just got to sit there and do it.

“You aren’t an artist until your picture’s hanging on the wall.” Great ideas don’t count. It always looks better in your head.

“There’s always a moment in any book when the whole thing looks like a complete disaster and you want to give up. Don’t. Never give up.” Finish the book first, then worry about the problems later, or you’ll never finish anything.

“A writer writes.” Stop surfing! Leave the washing up! Get on with it!


5 responses to “Four pieces of advice for writers

    • Thanks Harry! In the spirit of Douglas Adams’ five-part Hitchhiker’s trilogy, I’ve just thought of a fifth piece of advice. I once heard Colin Dexter speak, and he said you should write a page a day. That way you’ll have 365 pages in a year, which is basically a book. He’s the inventor of Inspector Morse, of course, so I reckon he knows a thing or two about writing.

  1. It’s all true 🙂 Any thoughts about editing? I’m at that stage now and finding it v. boring… 🙂

    • Hi Paulina

      Thanks for your comments! Editing is a tricky one – I have been both an editor and an author actually. I think there are four tricks to good editing (of your own work, as well as anyone else’s):
      1) give it time. Put the book or piece of writing away for a month and don’t look at it at all. Then when you come back to it, it looks and feels like someone else’s work, and you can be more honest.
      2) be ruthless. It’s never good enough. Watch out for cliche above all. If you ask other people to read your stuff, give them a particular thing to look out for, like: what words do I always use? Do the characters feel consistent? When did you stop reading and put the kettle on?
      3) mark the good things as well as the bad. It’s too easy to get over-critical. Everyone has strengths as a writer, so find out what parts of your writing really work and build on them in the rewrites.
      4) look at the editing as an opportunity. It’s a chance to add new ideas, more interesting descriptions, maybe a whole new sequence. It’s not just a time to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
      Hope that helps!

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