If you are going to learn from other writers don’t only read the great ones, because if you do that you’ll get so filled with despair and the fear that you’ll never be able to do anywhere near as well as they did that you’ll stop writing. I recommend that you read a lot of bad stuff, too. It’s very encouraging.
My friend Sherryl over at Ebooks4writers.com shared the following link in her latest newsletter. Though it is easy to substitute learning to write for writing (i.e., procrastination), this link is awfully useful – especially on a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy!
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.
Pulled this from an article on Writer’s Digest, where Allen Drury also said “set a schedule and stick to it.” In other words, stop searching for “writing advice” on Google and get writing (actually, I love reading writer’s advice on writing – it’s an addiction)!
I am a huge fan of Paulo Coelho. The Alchemist has resided in my top-five books for a very long time, and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon! A fan of his collected some of his writing tips, and I love the message: keep it simple, tell a story, and allow your readers the respect to make of it what they will.
Check out his top 8 writing tips (I’d reproduce them here, but I’m not sure he will answer my request to do so – so just follow the link, worth the 2 minutes for sure! http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/06/21/tips-for-writing/)
My friend Suzanne, over at panhandleprofessionalwriters, posted her “Top Ten Book on Writing Everyone Should Read.” If you haven’t stopped by her blog, you should – awesome posts on authors, writing, books, conferences, and other creative writing topics.
Here is her list:
1. The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
2. Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on the Writing Life by Anne Lamott
3. On Writing by Stephen King
4. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
5. Ernest Hemingway on Writing Edited by Larry W. Phillips
6. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield
7. How to Create a Sentence by Stanley Fish
8. How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles van Doren
10. Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan
My list matched 6 out of the ten (so far), how about you? Do you have a list?
“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They depen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”
The following how-to-write books have been absolutely instrumental in my quest to learn the craft of fiction:
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anne Lamott): this is a fabulous book, a must read for anyone who endeavors to write. For me, it simply took some of the fright of writing.
- Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (8th Edition) (Janet Burroway and Elizabeth Stuckey-French): no offense to God, but this is my bible. I refer to it often, I honestly could not survive without it!
- The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers (John Gardner): A fantastic resource to use along side Writing Fiction.
- The Elements of Style (4th Edition) – (William Strunk and E.B. White): According to Stephen King, in On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, every aspiring writer should read this book. I totally agree, this book is a must have (you can carry it in your pocket)!
- An American Rhetoric – (William Whyte Watt): This is an amazing guide to “Good Writing and Correct English” – it is hard to find, even harder to find at a decent price – try Better World Books, I scooped a copy up there for less than $20!
- Solutions for Writers: Practical Craft Techniques for Fiction and Non-fiction: Though I also included this in the section for revision, I also think it is a fantastic read before you dive into your novel. The guy is simply straight forward with his advice, and his proven track record makes it worth following. I am serious, this book is awesome!