15 Pieces Of Advice From Wise Writers

Tips and advice only go so far if you want to be a writer. At a certain point, you have to sit down and write, but when you’re utterly distracted or procrastinating like hell, maybe these snippets of wisdom from published authors can give you the motivation to get going again.


1. “You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly . . . Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.”

This first practical piece of advice comes from Jennifer Egan. She has written the books: A Visit from the Goon SquadThe Invisible Circus, and Emerald City

2. “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.” 

This wisdom comes from writer Anne Lamott. Some of her books include: Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential PrayersHard Laughterand Crooked Little Heart


Source: Facebook

3. “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”

Isabel Allende, who is most well-known for the following books: The House of the Spirits, Island Beneath the Sea, and Inés of My Soul, tells writers.

4. “You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.”

Susan Orlean offers this advise to writers. Orlean is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has written books such as Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, Saturday Nightand The Orchid Thief


Source: Susan Orlean

 5. “A problem with a piece of writing often clarifies itself if you go for a long walk.”

Helen Dunmore offered this advice in an interview with The Guardian. Some of her books include: The Siege, Exposureand Ingo.


Source: Wiki Commons

6. “You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.”

Neil Gaiman delivered this advice in an interview with The GuardianA few of Gaiman’s most popular works are: American Gods, Coralineand The Sandman


Source: Wiki Commons

 7. “The first sign of disintegration — in a writer — is that the writing loses the unique stamp of his/her character, & loses its inner light.”

Poet Ted Hughes dropped this bit of wisdom in a letter to his daughter. Some of Hughes’ poetry collections include: The Hawk in the Rain, Lupercaland The Mermaid’s Purse

The late poet laureate, Ted Hughes

Source: Wiki Commons

8. “In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.”

This musing comes from the master of horror, Stephen King. Some of King’s most recent books are: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories, End of Watch, and Doctor Sleep


Source: Stephen King

 9. “Be willing to be a child and be the Lilliputian in the world of Gulliver.” 

Mary Karr delivered this advice in her contribution to the book Why We WriteSome books of hers include: Sinners Welcome, The Liars’ Club, and The Art of Memoir


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10. “All makers must leave room for the acts of the spirit. But they have to work hard and carefully, and wait patiently, to deserve them.”

Ursula K. Le Guin delivered this advice in her essay, “Where Do You Get Your Ideas From.” Some of her published works include: Lavinia, Always Coming Homeand Planet of Exile

 11. “When you’re trying to create a career as a writer, a little delusional thinking goes a long way.”

This hard bit of truth comes from Michael Lewis who has written books such as: The Money Culture, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, and The Undoing Project.


Source: Wiki Commons

12. “If it sounds like writing … rewrite it.”

Elmore Leonard gave this tidbit of wisdom in his book, 10 Rules of WritingSome of his other well-known works are: Rum Punch, The Hot Kidand Raylan.

13. “Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.”

This lovely advice comes from poet Jane KenyonSome of her poetry collections are: From Room to Room, Let Evening Comeand A Hundred White Daffodils

14. “As a writer you should not judge. You should understand.”

Ernest Hemingway delivered this advice to aspiring authors. Hemingway’s most notable works are: The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Seaand For Whom the Bell Tolls

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15. “It is [the writer’s] privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.”

William Faulkner tells us the most honorable part of being a writer. Some of his most well-known novels are: The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dyingand Absalom, Absalom!


Source: Wiki Commons

Hopefully, you haven’t detoured too much from your own writing, and can now easily get back into your work after reading some inspirational messages from these historical and contemporary writers.

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h/t Brainpickings