Sunday, September 15, 2019

Advice on Writing a Book

 Wouldn't it be grand if there were such a book? Well, I am sure that there are books such as this. The problem with it? There is no one way. One size does not fit all. Every writer must find their own way. It is good, at least I find it is good for me, to read great writers' advice. Some make perfect sense to me, some make me laugh and others give me food for thought, which is not always a bad thing!

Most writers would agree that the hardest part of writing is the beginning. There are others, like me, who feel the ideas are flowing and that is not a problem. For me, the problem begins with showing up daily to give shape to my ideas with the right words and phrases. Thinking to the future, which I try not to, is then wondering how my writing will be received.

I have looked over some great writers' advice and would like to share it with anyone who is a writer or thinks they may want to delve into writing.

Although, I have not read that many of Ernest Hemingway's books, (shame on me) I discovered that he had some of the more memorable quotes on writing:
  • "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
  • When he was asked what was the scariest thing he ever encountered he answered, "A blank sheet of paper."
  • "The first draft of everything is shit."
  • "Prose is architecture, not interior decoration."
  • "Write drunk, edit sober."

As I was writing this blog, I shared all of these quotes with my husband. He then fixed a Bloody Mary for me, following up with a glass of merlot.

And so I am. Just crazy and trying to think! Not on my novel work but my weekly blog, which sometimes is just as challenging to write, just shorter.

So the quotes that I found to help me or at least make me ponder were:

Elmore Leonard ~ "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.""I try to leave out the parts that people skip."

E. L. Doctorow ~ "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

Henry Miller ~ "When you can't create you can't work."

John Steinbeck ~ "Abandon the idea  that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day. It helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised."

Just because you feel that you have an artistic temperament, does not necessarily help in becoming a writer, singer or artist.

I have read, as I am sure you have too, that many writers were rejected time and time again. J.K Rowling, Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, and Dr. Seuss, just to name a few.

There is one book which can help, it is just not a "how to book" is called The Elements of Style." It gives some perspective on writing.

Back to some quotes that I highly believe in.

Harper Lee ~ "My advice to any person who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide."

W. Somerset Maugham ~ "There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

Stephen King ~ "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time - or the tools - to write."

"I am always chilled and astonished by the would-be writers who ask me for advice and admit, quite blithely, that they don't have time to read. This is like a guy starting up Mount Everest saying that he didn't have time to buy rope or pitons."

Mark Twain ~  "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."

Eudora Welty ~ "Beware of tidiness."

William Zinsser ~ If writing seems hard, it's because it is hard. It is one of the hardest things people do."

Neil Gaiman ~ "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."

Lev Grossman ~ "Don't take anyone's writing advice too seriously."

William Faulkner ~ "Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him."

Aside from the 'great writers' advice, there are other people that I have listened to. Some of their advice made loads of common sense to me. Such as:

 This piece of advice came from my marketing manager, my husband, who has the degree in marketing. FIND MY VOICE. Do this through my blog and carry over to my novel. Smart man, in my opinion.

Sometimes, I need this sign in front of me. Just sit down and write. Write. Write.

Today, or this afternoon and into the early evening, I needed this sign. There was a slight distraction for me going on. My New Orleans Saints were losing due to Drew Brees wrists. I missed what happened but things went downhill fast. However, I kept writing and hopefully this will be a coherent blog. 

Happy Sunday!

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