Writing Tips from Writers Who Know Their Shit
The first draft of everything is shit. – Ernest Hemingway
The first draft is just that, a first draft. It’s just a guide something to work on. Focus first on getting a rough first draft and don’t mind about the quality that comes later when its time to edit. You can’t edit a blank page. There’s a lot of magic to be found in a raw rough draft that’s mostly excitement and energy than planning and precision.
Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you. ― Neil Gaiman
This is to say we all have our own unique voice and style. We’ve had experiences, thoughts and ideas that are completely our own. Don’t try to be like everyone else, be you and stand out from the crowd.
Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out – they can be got right only by ear). – Diana Athill
Read your work out loud and you’ll be amazed by the amount of mistakes you’ll find hidden in your work. You will quickly work out which are the dull bits, all those clanky sentences and help improve the rhythm of your story.
Don’t wait around for inspiration. – Jack London
If you only write when you feel like writing you won’t get much done. After having children I learnt to how to write whenever there was an opportunity instead of waiting for the mood to take me. If you want to be a writer and push it as far as you can then you do have to chase that dream. Always be on the lookout for ideas and inspiration.
Write one word at a time. – Stephen King
Once you’ve got that idea that’s worth turning into a novel, keep at night even when it becomes a muddled mess. Eventually you will get to the end. Neil Gaiman has also said, “Write one word at a time, it’s that easy and that hard.”
You become a writer simply by reading and writing. –Stephen King
Stephen King is a treasure trove for writing tips, his book On Writing, is a must read for all aspiring writers. Reading as much as you can is vital for all authors you will quickly find out what works, what’s been done to death and what’s popular. Writing stories is a creative process but selling them is a business, (this is a quote but for the life of me I can’t remember who said it!) You can learn a lot from reading good fiction but you can also learn from bad fiction. It’s also a good idea to read books you wouldn’t normally read, get down your local library and start exploring.
There’s no way quick way of becoming a good writer and they say it takes ten years at least to become an overnight success. Have fun with it and remember, one word at a time is all it takes.
You can make anything by writing. – C.S.Lewis
There are no boundaries when it comes to writing other than the limits of your imagination so really stretch it and see what you can produce. Through writing people have created new worlds as well as people, the possibilities for your stories are endless.
Perseverance is absolutely essential, not just to produce all those words, but to survive rejection and criticism. – J.K.Rowling
Sadly this is true, rejection and criticism is always going to hurt. You need to be ruthless as a writer and never surrender your dream. Allow kind words and acceptances to keep you going but more importantly, let the haters fuel your fire. Carry on if only to spite the people who said you weren’t good enough. Never give up, never give in.
If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting. – David Bowie
Like Stephen King, David Bowie has some great tips for creativity and this one piece of advice has always stood out for me. As a writer you should always be prepared to push yourself and go that little bit further than everyone else. Take risks and don’t be afraid to fail, because when you get it right, you’ll be an unstoppable force.
Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously. – Lev Grossman
So true, there’s no magic formula to writing best-selling fiction and each writer has their own methods. Find out what works for you but more importantly have fun. If your work isn’t fun to write it won’t be fun to read either.
Originally born in Cornwall, south west England, her childhood was surrounded by myths and legends. She has always been fascinated by anything out of the ordinary. It was in this strange and ancient land where she developed a passion for writing.
S.J.Budd loves writing short stories exploring dark fictional worlds and its mysterious inhabitants, and is currently working on her first novel. Her day job involves working as journalist for www.findahood.com and she also blogs on her site www.sjbudd.co.uk
Her work has appeared in Aphotic Realm, Sanitarium Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Deadman’s Tome, Innersins , Aphelion, Bewildering Stories, Blood Moon Rising Magazine, Shadows at the Door and Danse Macabre Magazine, The Wild Hunt, Morpheus Tales and Freedom Fiction.