“If it sounds like writing… rewrite it” – top authors give their writing tips

Elmore Leonard, Miami Book Fair International, 1989 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elmore Leonard, Miami Book Fair International, 1989 (Photo: Wikipedia)

It always interests me to read what famous authors say about the art of writing, almost as if by reading about how they go about the process, some of their successful habits might rub off on me; that I might improve, simply by learning how they have. So, I thought it might be interesting to compile a selection to see if there were any common threads (taken from the NYT and The Guardian).

It’s an interesting and useful compilation for aspiring writers, some very tongue in cheek but none better than Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing. RIP. It’s also (mostly) completely pointless because tips that work really well for some people, several others completely disregard, with two possible exceptions. The first is that everyone agrees that authors must be readers first and writers second. In the words of Stephen King*, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Secondly, I know how bloody hard it is to sit down and write a book – to actually get it finished – which ties into the final bit of advice that everyone seems to have. You need to just do it. No dilly dallying. Just planning, schedules and sweat. As Lionel Shriver said**, “Just get on with it. Don’t be ceremonial. It’s not a mystical process. Regard it as a job.”Continue Reading