In response to a reader’s request for tips on revision, Neil Gaiman writes:
The best advice I can give on this is, once it’s done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. Finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you’re ready, pick it up and read it, as if you’ve never read it before. If there are things you aren’t satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that’s revision.
To me, Mr. Gaiman is spot on. Sometimes this is the hardest thing to do in the world – it’s almost like I feel guilty when a put a piece down. The reward, though, is always there – in the form of fresh eyes and an improved product.
You fail only if you stop writing.
I’ve written about 2,000 short stories…and I feel I’m still learning.
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.
This was shared at a great writing workshop last week:
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 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.
– Edward Albee
I couldn’t agree more. It was, after all, a terrible book that made me think, hey I can do something marginally better than this garbage! I’m still working on it – even trash takes time.
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 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/)