Excellent Writing Tips from Successful Authors

writing tips

Writing tips from great thinkers and authors.

I love collecting little bits of wisdom from great writers, leaders, and thinkers.

For several years, I’ve been stockpiling quotes that inspire me. Some of them contain sage advice for life; others offer fresh perspectives on the world. Many hold what I consider to be excellent writing tips.

Consider the writer who yearns to write and publish a novel. He thinks about it, dreams about it, aches for it, but the task is daunting and there is so little time. It seems like an impossible dream, one that would take years, even decades to realize.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
― Lao Tzu

Whatever you want to write, it all starts by sitting down at your computer or with a notebook and pen and writing down that first word.


Life Advice for Writers

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.
― Shel Silverstein

Whether we’re following our dreams or expressing our thoughts, feelings, and visions through our writing, we writers must summon the courage to put ourselves and our work, our beloved labor, in front of an audience that will judge it. It’s hard enough to be yourself in the conventional sense, let alone under a spotlight.

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
― Dr. Seuss

It all comes down to believing. We have to believe in ourselves and in the passion that drives us to write.

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
― Roald Dahl

On Writing as Work

How many years does a person spend reading and writing before becoming proficient enough to be published? How long does it take to learn how to tell a story, to get a handle on the rules of grammar, to compose vibrant prose and verse? We writers spend countless hours, hard at work, just for practice and experience. Thousands of pages pile up before we become publishable. But every word, every paragraph, and every line counts, even if nobody else reads it. Even if it never earns a penny.

Don’t be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.
― Arthur Miller

A writer’s work is never done. It’s an ongoing process of learning the craft, producing the work, polishing, submitting, editing, and publicizing. But some writers make it look easy.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
― Ernest Hemingway

Once we turn our passion into a career, we might find ourselves under contract or employed by some publisher. The article is due at midnight. The first draft is due at the end of the month. And the edits were supposed be done yesterday!

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
― Douglas Adams

Writing Tips from Authors

It saddens me that so many writers avoid writing because they are terrified that their work won’t be original, won’t be critically acclaimed, or won’t even get published. We can worry about whether our book is too silly or too serious, too smart or too dumb, too literary or too commercial. But ultimately, we have to stop worrying and just write what is in our hearts and what’s haunting our minds.

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.
― Madeleine L’Engle

They say that the truth is stranger than fiction, and fiction can hold more truth than reality.

Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country

It cannot be said enough that the best way to become a good writer is to simply read as much as you possibly can. While reading will make you a better writer, it has countless other benefits.

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.
― Joyce Carol Oates

What are some of your favorite quotes of wisdom? Have you picked up any helpful writing tips from authors you’ve admired? Share your best advice by leaving a comment, and keep writing!

All of the quotes featured in this article were found via Goodreads’ Quotes of the Day. Goodreads is a social media site for bookworms and writers. Be my friend on Goodreads!

About Melissa Donovan
Melissa Donovan is a website designer and copywriter. She writes fiction and poetry and is the founder and editor of Writing Forward, a blog packed with creative writing tips and ideas.

Comments

12 Responses to “Excellent Writing Tips from Successful Authors”

  1. Yvonne Root says:

    Like you Melissa, I find Dr. Seuss highly quotable.

    Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
    Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

  2. Tim LaBarge says:

    One of my professors told me that writers write because they observe something in the world that they have a passion to change. This could be something smaller and personal, or something large and socially/politically focused.

    With that in mind, I think one of the most important aspects of being a writer, and something we all should concentrate on is that:

    “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” ~Anaïs Nin

    • I’m intrigued by this idea that writers inherently want to change something. I would have to say that it’s true for me. The quote by Anaïs Nin is lovely; it makes an excellent addition to this post. Thanks for adding it :)

  3. Michelle says:

    My favourite quote from ‘Life of Brian’…………………..”You are all individuals…………………….I’M NOT “…………………Sheer genius and it says it all…………………..Never dismiss yourself as a ‘doing ‘ person. It’s scary but exhilarating and you can always run away and hide if it doesn’t work !
    cheers, Michelle

  4. Trevor says:

    I have no ready quotes to submit to you but I would like to say, as an unpublished trying to write author, that this site you have built here is just excellent.

    I love the quotes and even “stole” one to put on the small blackboard we have at the front door in which we put quotes. I enjoyed reading everything on this site.

    Keep up the good work!

    Sincerely,

    Trevor Tobin.

  5. jignesh says:

    really knowledgeable tips for new writers and well known writers too

  6. Boutayna says:

    hello. when i read this every time makes me a wondering girl about if i really have what it takes even to write a one. yes a single line and make it worthy to read ? and then all my doubts come to whisper in my ear and calls out my inner demon,,anyway i’m 19 years old and im from a country named morocco and i’m an english student any advice please