If there’s one thing writers have in common, it’s that we all suffer from that dreaded writer’s block. When inspiration runs dry and you can’t seem to make the words flow. Even the greats know how it feels. That’s why it’s comforting to read words of advice from famous writers. Some say oddly sensible things. Others offer harsh but much-needed counsel. Here are some words of wisdom from famous writers about the art of writing.
“Nothing will work unless you do.”
F. Sionil Jose
“Don’t give it up kung talagang gusto ninyo [if you really want it]. No matter what kind of criticism you get—even if you are called the lousiest writer in this country.”
“Risk is essential. It’s scary. Every time I sit down and start the first page of a novel I am risking failure. We are encouraged in this world not to fail… We are encouraged only to do that which we can be successful in. But things are accomplished only by our risk of failure.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.”
Rule 7 out of 10: Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
“If there’s anything I’ve learnt from my own experiences over the past few years since [Crazy Rich Asians] was published, it’s that we are all capable of infinitely more than we think. So much else is possible beyond what we can imagine… And find a good Chinese takeout place that doesn’t use MSG.”
“Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, ‘Listen to me.’”
“Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.”
“The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time… Never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day. The main thing is to know when to stop. Don’t wait till you’ve written yourself out.”
“A word after a word after a word is power.”
“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”
“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
“If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden.”
“Finish your book before you try to make it perfect. You can paralyze yourself if you worry about getting everything just right. You’ll never finish.”
“I never liked writing concluding paragraphs to papers—where you just repeat what you’ve already said with phrases like ‘In summation,’ and ‘To conclude.’”
Hope that keeps your writer’s block at bay. Want more tips? How about a survival guide for students? Check out our All About Senior High section.
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