Advice on Writing From Famous Authors

  1. The first draft of everything is shit. -Ernest Hemingway
  2. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass. -David Ogilvy
  3. If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. – Dorothy Parker
  4. You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ― Jack London
  5. I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee
  6. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. — George Orwell
  7. There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ― W. Somerset Maughan
  8. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King
  9. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
  10. If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do. – William Zinsser
  11. Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college. – Kurt Vonnegut
  12. Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die. – Anne Enright
  13. Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. – Mark Twain
  14. You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ― Ray Bradbury