13 Pieces Advice From Famous Authors

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Writers and would-be writers are always looking for wisdom from those who’ve gone before us.
 
I’ve assembled some thoughtful comments and put them in a Q&A format for you to enjoy.
 
Question: When is the best time to begin a writing career?
Answer: “Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.” ~Dr. Seuss
 
Question: From where does our writing ability come? Is it inborn? Learned?
Answer: As Mother Teresa said, “We are all pencils in the hand of God.”
 
Question: Is it difficult to learn the craft of writing?
Answer: “Yes, it’s hard to write, but it’s harder not to.”
~Carl Van Doren
 
And here’s more advice on writing from other authors:
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
~ E.L. Doctorow
 
“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
 
Question: How much time should a writer commit to his/her craft?
Answer: “The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.”
~John Irving
 
And as author Ray Bradbury said, “Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”
Another thought to ponder is, “Either marry your work – take it seriously and do it every day – or date it – write only when you feel like it – but know which you are doing and the repercussions of both.”
~Anonymous
 
Question: Is writing all about sitting at a computer and pounding out a story?
Answer: Not necessarily so. As Victor Hugo said, “A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labour and there is invisible labour.”
 
Question: What about word count? Is there any advice on pacing yourself?
Answer: “The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.”
~Raymond Chandler
 
Also, “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
~Isaac Asimov
 
Question: Must you have all the answers when you sit down to write your story?
Answer: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
~E. L. Doctorow
 
Question: How do you know you’ve reached a level of success?
Answer: “Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed.”
~P.G. Wodehouse
 
Question: Is there a secret to becoming a successful author?
Answer: “The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write, and keep on writing.”
~Ken MacLeod
 
And I leave you with a final thought: ” May I never grow too old to treasure ‘once upon a time.'”
~Anonymous
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