Writing Advice to Writers

I did a Google search on writing advice to writers by contemporary writers. They mostly say the same thing:

Barbara Kingsolver says, “The only way to become a writer is to sit still and write.  All writing counts, it’s cumulative.”

J.K. Rowling says, “You have to resign yourself to the fact that you waste a lot of trees before you write anything you really like, and that’s just the way it is.”

And Neil Gaiman says, “How do you do it? You do it. You write. You finish what you write.”

So what did you learn? That’s right. Just do it. Just go ahead and write.



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26 responses to “Writing Advice to Writers

  1. Pingback: What to do When More than one Agent Requests your Full Manuscript | The Literary Mom

  2. Ha ha! I can handle a good lambasting any day! I’m more worried about ticking off someone who might hold the keys to all mortal happiness! Or at least publishing happiness… 🙂

  3. Thanks, Linda. I really do appreciate your taking the time to answer my question. I was honestly a little scared to ask you, but you couldn’t have been kinder.

    • Don’t ever be scared to ask. If I don’t want to answer or if I thought it was a really stupid question (sorry, but there are SOME stupid questions!) I’d either not approve your comment, not answer, or totally lambast you. Oh wait. That might make you afraid to ask, hunh? Ok. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  4. Thank you so much, Linda, for answering my question! I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. So my next part of the question would be; do you notify agents about full requests if they only have your query? Or does that just annoy them? Thanks again, Linda!

    • Nah. That’s kind of being presumptuous. If you’ve queried them and they haven’t asked you for anything or responded in any positive way, just leave them alone. If they’ve requested something more of you, it’s just polite to let them know other people are interested, too, so they don’t miss out on a chance.

  5. Hi, Linda. I have a question, but if you’re too busy to answer it, I totally understand. What do you do if you have your manuscript out with an agent and then you get several more full requests? Are you supposed to notify the first agent? I can’t find an answer to my question anywhere on the internet or in any of my writing guide books. Thanks for your time!

    • It’s a great question. I think the polite thing to do is to send an e-mail to the agent who already has your full and just let them know. Tell them you’re just checking in and you wanted to inform them that a number of agents have asked to read the full manuscript at this point. And if anyone makes an offer of representation it’s a good idea to send an e-mail out to everywhere it’s submitted letting them know that. That’s when agents bump your manuscript to the top of their “to-read” pile, if there’s even a little interest. That way, you may end up with more than one offer and you can make a choice of the best agent for you and your work. My rule of thumb is to always try to be polite, without being presumptuous or annoying. Hope this answers your question.

  6. If it weren’t for writing, I’d have a clean house.

  7. Steve McCann

    You don’t have to feel like writing to be able to write. In fact, you don’t have to feel like writing to write quite well. Persistence is the key.

  8. The more we write, the more we realize, we need to write more.

  9. Van Vasko

    Linda, thanks for the tips and “might could” is a southern thing.

    • Oh. Ok. I’m a born and bred New Yorker. The furthest South I’ve ever lived is Philly and that was back in the Pleistocene era for a very short time. I might could use some time down South to expand my vernacular horizons.

  10. You can read about writing and talk about writing and read well-written novels all you want, but you can’t learn how to apply any of those things until you sit down and start writing yourself.

  11. So what I am hearing here is that I should stop reading the pile of blogs in my in-box and start writing! Good advice!

  12. I HOPE this is just a phase. 🙂

    Spent all day long revising. All day. 🙂

  13. invadingnola

    This guy gives some “no-nonsense” advice.. (excuse his few cuss words, the message is dead-on correct”

    • Yes. I’ve read this before. I love this. I don’t mind the language. Actually, I LIKE the language. I COULD do without the phrase “might could” though. What IS that? Is that some kind of regional thing of which I’m not aware? I’m almost half a friggen’ century old and I’m learning new phrases left and right these days. WTF…

  14. And here’s what Ira Glass says: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/309485 (hint: the same thing)

  15. I guess that is the point isn’t it. Just write and you can always edit later 🙂