MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Talent is overrated. You need passion, vocation, vision, and dedication to get you through the rough spots in your style.
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.
Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible. If you’re writing a short story, try to write it in one sitting. If you’re writing a novel, try to write it in one season (three months).
Don’t worry too much about plotting or outlining beforehand. You can do that once you know you have a story to tell in the first place. Your first draft is a discovery process. You are like an archeologist digging an ancient city out of the clay. You might have a few clues about where your city is buried beforehand, but you don’t know what it will look like until it’s unearthed.
The first words you write are the first draft. Writing is thinking. You'll rarely know what exactly you want to say when you start writing.
The time you put into editing, reworking and refining turns your first draft into a second draft, and then into a third. If you keep refining it over days or weeks or even years, it eventually becomes something great.
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