Thursday, October 04, 2012

Advice from famous authors

Writers and would-be writers are always looking for wisdom from those who’ve gone before us.
I’ve assembled some thoughtful comments and put them in a Q&A format for you to enjoy.
 Question: When is the best time to begin a writing career?
Answer: "Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way." ~Dr. Seuss
Question: From where does our writing ability come? Is it inborn? Learned?
Answer: As Mother Teresa said, "We are all pencils in the hand of God."
Question: Is it difficult to learn the craft of writing?
Answer: "Yes, it's hard to write, but it's harder not to."
~Carl Van Doren
And here's more advice on writing from other authors:
"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go."
E.L. Doctorow
"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."
~Barbara Kingsolver
Question: How much time should a writer commit to his/her craft?
Answer: "The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything."
~John Irving
And as author Ray Bradbury said, "Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed."
Another thought to ponder is, "Either marry your work - take it seriously and do it every day - or date it - write only when you feel like it - but know which you are doing and the repercussions of both."
Question: Is writing all about sitting at a computer and pounding out a story?
Answer: Not necessarily so. As Victor Hugo said, “A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labour and there is invisible labour.”
Question: What about word count? Is there any advice on pacing yourself?
Answer: "The faster I write, the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them."
~Raymond Chandler
Also, "If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster."
~Isaac Asimov
Question: Must you have all the answers when you sit down to write your story?
Answer: "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
~E. L. Doctorow
Question: How do you know you've reached a level of success?
Answer: "Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed."
~P.G. Wodehouse
Question: Is there a secret to becoming a successful author?
Answer: "The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write, and keep on writing."
~Ken MacLeod
And I leave you with a final thought: " May I never grow too old to treasure 'once upon a time.'"


Beth K. Vogt said...

Probably one of my favorite posts, Megan.

Megan DiMaria said...

Thanks, Beth!