One of the best parts of social media is all the connections I’ve made with other writers and authors. So to that end, I thought instead of giving you my own advice (which is worth slightly less than two cents in today’s currency), I thought I’d ask some of my favorite writers what their advice is.
One-Sentence (and sometimes more!) Writing Advice
“Aspiring writers don’t aspire — they write.” –J.C. Hutchins, 7th Son: Descent
“Done is better than fun.” —Erin Blakemore, The Heroine’s Bookshelf
“My favorite advice comes from Margaret Mitchell, who encouraged all writers to ‘put your work up for two months and then when you take it out again the errors will fairly leap out at you till you wonder why you ever thought it was good.’” — Ellen F. Brown, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey.
“Tell a good story, and tell it well.” —Therese Fowler, Exposure
“Hold all writing advice lightly; every writer has to chart her own course by her own star.” —Kyran Pittman, Planting Dandelions
“Journal when you can: memories, snippets of dialogue you’ve overheard, cool character or street names. Someday you will be happy to have these details in your pocket.” —Siobhan Fallon, You Know When the Men Are Gone
“Write every day. Find a time that works for you, and stick to it. Defend its sanctity with your life. There will be good days and there will be bad days, but if you show up every day and put in the time then sooner or later you’ll end up with a story.” –Alex George, A Good American
“Set up two monitors on your computer–write on one screen, display your notes/outlines/inspiration images on the other. You’ll be surprised what a difference that can make.” —Holly Tucker, Blood Work
“No matter where you are in your career, no one else will ever have as much passion and enthusiasm for your writing as you do–you are your own best advocate.” —Erin Dionne, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet
“Read, read, read!” —Kelly O’Connor McNees, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
“Because there will always be times you get stymied by plunges in confidence, blank screens and the refrigerator, always surround yourself with three books that are either about writing and how to do it or that are written in a style you appreciate and want to emulate.” –Rachel Machacek, The Science of Single
“Above all, a well-imagined story is organized around extraordinary human behaviors and unexpected and startling events, which help illuminate the commonplace and the ordinary.” (Channeling Tim O’Brien, in “Telling Tails” in The Atlantic) —Meg Waite Clayton, The Four Ms. Bradwells
“Don’t fret about getting all the details into first draft; a manuscript is like a cake, let it bake and cool, then go back and decorate!” —Beth Hoffman, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“It takes a while for the kitchen faucet in my third-floor apartment to actually produce hot water, and I’ve found that to be a great metaphor about the need to write every day—the water won’t heat up unless you let it run a while.” —Wendy McClure, The Wilder Life
“Let your characters talk to you. If you are stuck, ask him or her, ‘So what is it that you’re really upset about?’ And then let him or her speak.” —Caroline Leavitt, Pictures of You
“Write the novel that’s bursting to come out of you, in a voice that is gloriously yours. And believe in that voice.” —Melissa Senate, The Love Goddess’ Cooking School
“Writers write.” —Molly Harper, How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf
“Keep one last sentence in your head at the end of the day so that you know the first thing you will write tomorrow.” —Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches
“Treat writing like exercise – you need to do it religiously to get results!” —Sarah Pekkanen, Skipping a Beat
Thanks to all the authors who contributed today! If any of them are new to you, click the link in their book’s title to get to know them.
And now, your turn! Writers, what are the writing words you live by? Non-writers, what’s the best one-sentence advice you’ve ever gotten?