Writing Advice from the Greats of Literature
Some people were born to study medicine, others to paint. I was born to write. And write I shall. But one thing I didn’t know about writing when I first began as a writer a few years ago is that the path to great writing is long, sometimes twisted and other times peppered with massive boulders that you must leap over. Yet, once you’ve manage to walk down the path successfully with your head held high, you’ll eventually arrive at its end feather in cap. If you’re struggling to write, here’s some writing advice and pearls of wisdom quoted from a few literary geniuses who have served to inspire many before us and continue to imbue writers of this generation with great courage to write. Have a look below!
Writing Tips – A Few Pearls of Wisdom
Be Prepared to Take Criticism
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent would be wise to develop a thick hide.” – Harper Lee
Being a writer often exposes you to unsolicited criticism. Sometimes people will praise your work and other times certain comments will be downright awful. But if you want to work as a writer, you need to bear in mind that it’s part of the job. And having thick skin will play a huge part in your survival.
Working Hard & Revealing Your Soul is part of the Job
“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway
Many people think there’s nothing to writing. But a seasoned writer knows that it involves pouring out all the contents of your soul onto your blank paper. Writing words as you bleed.
Write with all the Creativity You Can Muster
“The historian records, but the novelist creates.”- E.M. Forster
When you’re writing don’t just lay out the facts. It’s easy to write facts. But that’s not what writing as an art form is all about. Real writing paints a picture. It speaks to its audience without even needing to have the sound of its voice heard.
If you want your novel or article to truly move your readers, get your creative juices flowing and create something unexpected that captures people’s attention and ultimately leaves them yearning for more.
Don’t just write about the obvious
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass” – Anton Chekhov
Don’t just write about what’s obvious. Create a scene that’s unforgettable by adding color to your canvas. Describe the scene you’re writing about by jotting down extra details to make it more vivid and transport your readers to the scene you’ve created.
Create with Imagination & Edit with Sobriety
“Write drunk, edit sober” – Ernest Hemingway
Once you’ve drunkenly immersed yourself into your writing and it’s finally finished, give it a day or two and then edit with a sober mind. When you’ve commenced the process, keep your readers in mind. Allow yourself to answer the following questions when you’re writing:
- Will they understand the main point being made here?
- Can I create better imagery?
- Does it leave them on edge?
- Did I create the right tone and mood?
Write With Feeling
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” – Robert Frost
Don’t write in black and white, make your writing as colorful as can be. Choose your words wisely and fill them with emotion. Use descriptive adjectives, powerful verbs and sprinkle in a few adverbs every now and again. Only then will the rainbow appear after the great storm.
Make Sure Your Writing Flows
“ Always be a poet, even in prose”- Charles Baudelaire
Poetry is difficult to write. But prose is just as hard too. If you’d like your readers to be fully emerged in what you’ve written, you must create the right flow by choosing your words carefully and maintain it throughout. Create music when you write that speaks to the soul.
“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.” – Truman Capote
Never be too Consistent
“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative”- Oscar Wilde
Whilst consistency can be a good thing especially when it comes to content writing, never be too consistent in what you write. Always leave some room for imagination to seep into your writing. Your own imagination is what you’ll be able to reflect to the public.
Inspiration isn’t Always There – Chase It
“Being a writer is a very sort of peculiar job:it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” -Neil Gaimen
As you place your fingers on your keyboard, the minuscule cursor blinks with all its might urging you to write your thoughts down. But your mind draws a blank and the cursor almost seems menacing. You’re faced with a blank sheet of paper stuck without any inspiration to write. The inspiration you were imbued with has fallen flat on its face and has not gotten up to help you tackle the emptiness. The blank page has won. But don’t let it win forever.
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ― Jack London
If you keep waiting around for inspiration in the same way you keep waiting for that one friend to come round that’s always an hour too late, you might as well give up. But instead of putting your pen down and crumpling your piece of paper and chucking it in the bin, you should take some time to chase inspiration. Look at books you haven’t gone through before, photographs that stimulate feelings inside of you and if both of these fail, go out for a walk or a drive.
Inspiration Will Occur Unexpectedly – Take Advantage of it
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”-Saul Bellow
Sometimes inspiration comes about as you prepare to lay your head on your pillow and tuck yourself into bed. Likewise it might strike when you’re driving yourself to work. Well, if the thought seems like a legitimate idea, roll with it and it might be just one of the most meaningful things you would have written so far.
Sometimes You Win, Some times You Lose – Build on the Loss
“Failure is inevitable, make it a strength.” – JK Rowling
Let’s face it writing is hard. Some times it’s easy and some times it’s totally not. And even when you’ve managed to write up an entire article or book after many sleepless nights, it doesn’t always turn out great. When your editor sends back his/her feedback and it doesn’t sound like good news, you’re faced with one choice- you can either take in your stride and take it as constructive criticism or you can be as sour as a lemon and throw a tantrum.
But know this; you must have an open mind about what you’ve written in order to develop as a writer.
Give Yourself a Moment to Take in a Good Writing Day
“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” – Neil Gailman
Not every day is a good writing day. But when you’ve spent a whole day spitting out words to create something worth reading give yourself some credit for the effort.