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8 tips on writing by Paulo Coelho

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!


Feed the soul…

“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.”

― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Anyone can write…

William C. Knott, in The Craft of Fiction, cogently observes that “anyone can write – and almost everyone you meet these days is writing.  However, only the writers know how to rewrite,   It is this ability alone that turn the amateur into a pro.” — taken from Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft (Burroway and Stuckey-French).

I don’t think Mr. Knott could be any more write right- because revision, I’m afraid, is a pain in the [____].  It takes an insane amount of determination and dedication; in most cases, it’s fueled by desire and rather than creativity.  It is subject to constant battles against procrastination, this post just the latest piece in the onslaught.  I remind myself that people, like the three mentioned authors above, have conquered this process before, and so, so can I.  Look at the bright side, 80,000 is nothing when it comes to revision!


Quotes About Writing

Harrison Shepherd, in one of his notebooks transcribed by stenographer Violet Brown (The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver), said it best: 

Accumulating words is a charlatan’s career. 

Quotes About Writing

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” 

— Barbara Kingsolver

Quotes About Writing

Run fast, stand still.  This, the lesson from lizards.  For all writers.  Ray Bradbury  Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You

Quotes About Writing

If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.  Natalie Goldberg – Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library).

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