5 Legendary tips for beginning authors

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Writing tips compiled from some literary greats.

1. “Write your heart out” – advice from Joyce Carol Oates (them). How beautifully said! And how true! One of the best ways to practice this is by keeping a writing journal. In fact, most fiction classes in college these days, we were require journals like these. Also, a separate “image journal” can help capture and hone your descriptions. Both of these can open your writer’s senses and can be utilized when working on a larger piece.

2. “Omit needless words” – advice from Strunk and White (Elements of Style textbook series). This one can be tricky, since sometimes it can be hard to decide what is “needless.” Many writers tend to think of their works as their babies, and no one thinks any part of their baby is needless, even down to the freckles, so this will be a perfect opportunity to…

3. “Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is. Remember: when people tell you something is wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” – advice from Neil Gaiman (Coraline and The Sandman series).

4. “There is no writer’s lifestyle” – advice from Zadie Smith (White Teeth). The energy expended trying to live up to what characterizes a “writer” is energy that could be used to characterize a story. Writers’ magazines make us think that the writer’s lifestyle is jetting off to a secluded cabin in the mountains with a gorgeous view that inspires, and past writers make us think that it’s binge drinking and waking in the gutters, but ultimately whatever life a writer is living IS a writer’s lifestyle. Even if that lifestyle is flipping burgers and staying up until 3am churning out garbage and hoping it’s gold.

5. “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.” – advice from Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five). Enough said.

This list compiled using this article from WritingClasses.com

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