Writers on their craft

The Guardian has published some wonderful advice from authors, much of which is also relevant to non-authors. A few highlights to pique your interest:

  • It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.

  • Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea.

  • Only bad writers think that their work is really good.

  • Never ride a bike with the brakes on. If something is proving too difficult, give up and do something else.

  • Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.

  • 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.

  • Good ideas are often murdered by better ones.

  • Keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort. Chances are the words that come into your head will do fine.

  • Never complain of being misunderstood. You can choose to be understood, or you can choose not to.

  • Reread, rewrite, reread, rewrite. If it still doesn’t work, throw it away.

  • Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

  • Read widely and with discrimination. Bad writing is contagious.

  • Writers write.

I’ll let you find your own highlights in part 2.

Posted by James on Monday, March 01, 2010