A few writing tips from the real experts

No, there’s no catch at the end of this post promising to make you a best selling offer for the low, discounted (today only) price of $499.

That said, I wouldn’t snark if you just wanted to leave $499 in the tip jar on your way out.

I digress.

Sometimes it’s just good to get the perspective of writers who have actually made a go of it. Maybe one day someone will quote me. For now, consider these words of wisdom.

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.
– Dorothy Parker

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.
— Harper Lee

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
– Jack London

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
— George Orwell

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
– W. Somerset Maugham

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.
– Stephen King

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.
– Kurt Vonnegut

Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.
– Lev Grossman

Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.
– William Faulkner

You either have to write or you shouldn’t be writing. That’s all.
– Joss Whedon

All good points to ponder, and then get back to writing.

And here’s one of my own:

Find a good editor. But don’t worry when idiots try to critique your work.

If you know why I say that, then you know. If not, just take it at face value. Like I said, maybe one day people will quote me.

There’s work to be done.


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