The Best Writing Advice Professional Authors Received

  1.  Alice Kahn: The best writing advice I’ve ever heard: Don’t write like you went to college.
  2. Andrei Codrescu: Best advice I ever got was from the Romanian poet Nichita Stanescu, who told me in Bucharest, before I emigrated: ‘Learn English. French is dead.’
  3. Christopher Buckley: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received was from William Zinsser: ‘Be grateful for every word you can cut.’
  4. Cynthia Ozick: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received is: Write with authority.
  5. David Guterson: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received is to take it seriously, because to do it well is all-consuming.
  6. George Plimpton: I think the best advice on writing I’ve received was from John Steinbeck, who suggested that one way to get around writer’s block (which I was suffering hideously at the time) was to pretend to be writing to an aunt, or a girlfriend. I did this, writing to an actress friend I knew, Jean Seberg. The editors of Harpers forgot to take off the salutation and that’s how the article begins in the magazine: Dear Jean….
  7. James Atlas: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received was from Dwight Macdonald: ‘Everything about the same subject in the same place.’
  8. Margaret Carlson: Best writing advice I’ve ever received: Sell everything three times.
  9. Nick Tosches: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received was given to me, like so much else, by Hubert Selby, Jr.: to learn and to know that writing is not an act of the self, except perhaps as exorcism; that, in writing what is worth being written, one serves, as vessel and voice, a power greater than vessel and voice.
  10. Patsy Garlan: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received is: Don’t answer the phone.
  11. Peter Mayle: Best advice on writing I’ve ever received: Finish.
  12. Richard Ford: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received: ‘Don’t have children.’ I gave it to myself.
  13. Robert Lipsyte: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received was, ‘Rewrite it!’ A lot of editors said that. They were all right. Writing is really rewriting—making the story better, clearer, truer.
  14. Russell Banks: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received was probably something Ted Solotaroff told me years ago when he was my editor. Going over a manuscript line by line again and again he kept reminding me, ‘Remember, this is your book, not my book. You’re the one who’s going to have to live with it the rest of your life. I might publish 30 or 40 books this year, you’re only going to publish one, and probably the only one you’re going to publish in two or three years.’
  15. Whitney Balliett: The best advice on writing I’ve ever received is, ‘Knock ‘em dead with that lead sentence.’

Free Books Recommended by Hemingway for Aspiring Writers

Free Books Recommended by Hemingway for Aspiring Writers

Ernest Hemingway

The fine folks at GalleyCat kindly put together a list of many of Hemingway’s recommendations for aspiring writers, and the best part is they’re available online for free (just hit the link above Papa Ernie’s head).

The advantages of writing in bed

Marcel Proust
Writing in bed is not just about convenience or comfort. I think there’s a psychological advantage, too. If you write in bed in the early morning you occupy an intriguing part of consciousness, somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness. Part of you is still in the shadowy cave of dream world; part of you is adjusting to the sharp brightness of reality. The mixture is fruitful and often suggestive.
Read Robert McCrum’s original article for the Guardian here.