One of the topics I love in my collection of online resources are thoughts and advice about writing from writers. These reflections provide insight into how to write as well as shining a light on how writers think about their craft. For example, Jeanette Winterson says:
I don’t give a shit what’s in your head. By which I mean if it isn’t on the page it doesn’t exist. The connection between your mind and the reader’s mind is language. Reading is not telepathy.
Helen Dunmore offers some useful advice about the connection between writing and walking:
A problem with a piece of writing often clarifies itself if you go for a long walk.
Jack Kerouac’s list of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Prose and Life offers some great insight into his writing process. Here are some examples:
-Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
-Submissive to everything, open, listening
-Try never get drunk outside yr own house
-Be in love with yr life
-Something that you feel will find its own form
-Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
-Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
I love this quote from Joyce Carol Oates:
Unless you are writing something very post-modernist – self-conscious, self-reflexive and “provocative” – be alert for possibilities of using plain familiar words in place of polysyllabic “big” words.
Want to find out more – here are some great articles:
- So you want to be a writer (The Guardian 14 March 14)
- 6 of the best pieces of advice from successful writers (Belle Beth Cooper, Huffington Post)
- About Writing (Ursula K. Le Guin)
- Margaret Atwood’s 10 Rules of Writing (Maria Popova, Brainpickings)
- Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing & Daily Creative Routine (Maria Popova, Brainpickings)
- Advice on Writing from Modernity’s Greatest Writers (Maria Popova, Brainpickings)
- Why I Write: George Orwell’s Four Universal Motives of Writing and Creativity (Maria Popova, Brainpickings)
And finally, check out this funny article from Brainpickings about The Odd Habits and Curious Customs of Famous Writers 🙂