TTT – From the Mouths of the Masters

I was going to write a tip post concentrating on the process of worldbuilding but got myself side-tracked by Harlequin and the novel (not to mention one impatient German).

Instead, I thought I’d let the masters of the craft share their tips on what it is to be a writer.

Worldbuilding tips will feature next Tuesday (promise).

“Don’t just plan to write—write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.”

– P. D. James

“Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.”

– Zadie Smith

“Treat writing as a job. Be disciplined. Lots of writers get a bit OCD-ish about this. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words a day. Jean Plaidy managed 5,000 before lunch, then spent the afternoon answering fan mail. My minimum is 1,000 words a day – which is sometimes easy to achieve, and is sometimes, frankly, like shitting a brick, but I will make myself stay at my desk until I’ve got there, because I know that by doing that I am inching the book forward. Those 1,000 words might well be rubbish – they often are. But then, it is always easier to return to rubbish words at a later date and make them better.”

– Sarah Waters

“When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”

– Neil Gaiman

“Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement.”

– Cory Docorow

“The first draft of everything is shit.” 

-Ernest Hemingway

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favour you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

– Dorothy Parker

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” 

— Harper Lee

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

― Jack London

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” 

― W. Somerset Maugham

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time, or the tools, to write. Simple as that.”

– Stephen King

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

― Ray Bradbury


“Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things 
happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

George Orwell

“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.” ― Neil Gaiman