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Writing advice – straight from the horse’s mouth

Writing advice is everywhere on the internet. There’s way too much to link to on a regular basis without getting overwhelmed. But today there’s a great article on writing advice from a range of writers, mostly novelists, on the website of the UK newspaper The Guardian. It’s well worth checking out.

These are not archive tips from long-dead writers. It looks like they’ve contacted all these writers in person and asked for their thoughts. There are plenty of famous names in there too, although inevitably a little UK-centric. There’s plenty of timeless writing advice here though.

The writers have been asked to give their top ten tips for writers. (Hey, that sounds a bit like a Digg-bait blog post, doesn’t it? Maybe newspapers are finally ‘getting it‘.)

One of my favourites is from Philip Pullman, who only gives one tip:

My main rule is to say no to things like this, which tempt me away from my proper work.

Michael Moorcock is in there too:

Find an author you admire (mine was Conrad) and copy their plots and characters in order to tell your own story, just as people learn to draw and paint by copying the masters.

Jeanette Winterson says:

Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.

Margaret Atwood contributes:

Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

Roddy Doyle adds:

Do not search amazon.co.uk for the book you haven’t written yet.

Anne Enright says:

The first 12 years are the worst.


Only bad writers think that their work is really good.

The article is a response to a book being published next month – Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. (UK link)

The article is split into two sections here and here.

If you have the time, and fancy a chuckle, go check it out. It’s a keeper.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Beginner February 28, 2010, 9:48 pm

    I have a lot of ideas to write about whizzing around my brain, my question is how do I use these to write orignal blog posts, as I always struggle with this. Actually a post on this would be awesome. Problem is I seem to use a written pieces but change the words around, does this make sense, so in effect it’s not really my work. Does research have to come into this? If so where and when?


  • Simon March 6, 2010, 12:17 pm
    • Minnie January 16, 2012, 1:46 pm

      That’s the best answer by far! Thanks for cnotirbuitng.

  • lyndon at seo packages March 7, 2010, 12:13 pm

    remember that google only indexes the first 250 words and so any SEO promotion needs to be above that line.

  • Jakk Ogden at his Technology Blog March 8, 2010, 10:40 pm

    @Lyndon. Thats true. But if it were completely correct, that would mean that Google could distiguish between both single php and main body (which it can not). I know where you are coming from though 😉