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How to Be a Writer: 10 Tips from Rebecca Solnit

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Read good writing—Dickens or Baldwin or evolutionary biology textbooks or the Old Testament, whatever holds your attention.

Don't read something just because it is popular at the moment; otherwise, you will be like everyone else and will not be able to make a meaningful contribution.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Be a Writer: 10 Tips from Rebecca Solnit

How to Be a Writer: 10 Tips from Rebecca Solnit

https://lithub.com/how-to-be-a-writer-10-tips-from-rebecca-solnit/

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10

Key Ideas

It’s up to you

It's up to you to become a good writer and you probably already know everything else you need to know, somewhere underneath the noise and the anxiety and the outside instructions.

Write

There is no substitute for writing. 
Start small. Write a good sentence, then a good paragraph. Write a lot. You might not be great from the start, but it is the road to good writing.

Writing is not typing

Writing is about thinking, researching, contemplating, outlining, composing, then maybe some typing with revisions as you go, deletions, additions, reflections, setting aside and returning afresh.
Typing is what you do in the middle of the two vast thoughtful processes.

Listen

Feedback is great, but there are times when you know exactly what you're doing. Listen to what makes you move or stops you in your tracks.
Listen to your own feedback and realize that you move forward through mistakes and flawed but aspiring work. Write for other people, but don't take their feedback to seriously.

Find a vocation

Talent is overrated. You need passion, vocation, vision, and dedication to get you through the rough spots in your style.

Time

Writing takes time. It means you will need to find that time. 

You probably have to do something else for a living in the beginning, but don't develop expensive habits or consume hobbies that will prevent you from writing.

Facts

Always get your facts right. Don't misrepresent

Regardless of what you're writing about, you have an obligation to get it right. Your credibility rests on your accuracy.

Joy

Writing is facing your deepest fears and failures, hoping that your worst version is revised so that posterity will never know how awful it was.

In there, your work has to bring you some kind of joy, including the joy of hard truths, told honestly. Find pleasure and joy. How you feel is something that you cannot take too seriously. Doing something is a means of not being stuck in how you feel.

Success

Success is very nice, but it is not love. It is at best the result of love of the work, but not of you.

Producing art is the process of becoming a person with independent thought, a producer of meaning, not a consumer of meanings that may be at odds with your inner person.

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‘Writing’ is the formal processes that turns nebulous ideas into a concrete proposal that can be assessed without the author's intervention. 

‘Writing’ is the formal processes that turns nebulous ideas into a concrete proposal that can be assessed without the author's intervention. 

The Writing Process
  • Step 1: Messy, Informal, Scribbly ... Write down anything that jumps from your research or any crazy thought. 
  • Step 2: Creating a Skeleton for the paper. Come up with sections, subheadings.
  • Step 3: Crystallise core arguments. Use stickies to make it more visual.
  • Step 4: Add the words. This is where most people start with, but it succeeds only because of the previous steps. 
Having No Routine

Having no routine or structure is so much more draining mentally, physically, and emotionally than any routine could ever be.

Why You Need a Routine
  • It gives you structure, builds forward-moving habits, and creates momentum that will carry you on the days when you feel like you don't have the strength to carry yourself.
  • Following a daily routine can help you establish priorities, limit procrastination, keep track of goals, and even make you healthier. 
  • It lowers your reliance on willpower and motivation.
Start the day with a mantra

... to get you into a positive mood for the day ahead. Put your mind in a good state right away, because left unchecked it will try to tell you the things that are wrong.

Pick a phrase or question that resonates with you. It could be as simple as smiling and saying "thank you" out loud, acknowledging that you have been gifted with another day.

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