Needing a little nudge in the right direction? We've rounded up what we think are ten of the best writing tips and quotes from the masters of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to give us all a little push.
1. We've talked so much about the reader, but you can't forget the opening line is important for the writer, too. To the person who's actually boots-on-the-ground. Because it's not just the reader's way in, it's the writer's way in, also, and you've got to find a doorway that fits us both.
2. If you're only going to write when you're inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist - because you're going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren't going to wait for you, whether you're inspired or not. So you have to write when you're not inspired ... and the weird thing is that six months later, or a year later, you're going to look back and you're not going to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you wrote because they had to be written.
3. Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.
4. The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you being excusing yourself.
5. Like a pianist runs her fingers over the keys, I'll search my mind for what to say. Now, the poem may want you to write it. And then sometimes you see a situation and think, "I'd like to write about that." Those are two different ways of being approached by a poem, or approaching a poem.
6. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, 'I am going to produce a work of art.' I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is getting a hearing.
7. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can't allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.
8. I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I just keep it simple: Tell the damned story.
9. And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
10. Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.