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21 Tips for Writers
[in 21 Days]
Revise with your heart.
"Become more expressive, with a love of language and all its uses. Revise with your heart in your hand."
~ Merridawn Duckler, Attic Institute Faculty
Do not wait for the muse.
"The act of writing always creates more writing!"
Matthew Dickman, Attic Institute Faculty
St. Patrick's Day edition
Make it hot.
"Do not wait till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking."
~ W. B. Yeats
"Writing a story or a novel is one way of discovering sequence in experience, of stumbling upon cause and effect in the happenings of a writer's own life."
~ Eudora Welty
"A snapshot, a fragment, a sentence -- these are often as informative, useful and interesting as a great long piece. "
~ Katrina Hays, Attic Faculty
Take a walk.
"Be a stranger in your own neighborhood.
Look out for nuance and texture"
~ Rebecca Koffman, Attic Faculty
"If there's a book you really want to read
but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
~ Toni Morrison
"Into the research, the structure, and the writing. "
~ Elizabeth Rusch, Attic Institute faculty
Devour every morsel.
"I love teaching students who want to devour every morsel of knowledge that makes them a better writer and appreciator of writing. I hope my students realize that their "success" isn't based on that ephemeral thing we call talent; it's about what they put into into the process -- what they're willing to put into it -- that makes them great writers."
~ Liz Prato, Attic Institute faculty
The one and only thing.
"Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer. "
~ Barbara Kingsolver
"You sit down and you do it, and you do it, and you do it, until you have learned to do it."
~ Ursula K. Le Guin
Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."
"My students make my happy -- I love the discussions, the eye-opening moments, the passion and drive. Especially that moment where they tackle whatever writing bugaboo has haunted them forever, and they win the fight."
~ Shanna Germain, Attic Institute faculty
Know about grammar.
"Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power."
~ Joan Didion
"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."
~ H. D. Thoreau
"Writing is not a job description. A great deal of it is luck. Don't do it if you are not a gambler because a lot of people devote many years of their life to it. I think people become writers because they are compulsive wordsmiths."
~ Margaret Atwood
Type a little faster.
"If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster."
~ Isaac Asimov
"I don't know much about creative writing programs.
But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach,
one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you
have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life,
to be a writer."
~ Doris Lessing
"The business of the poet and novelist is to show the
sorriness underlying the grandest things, and the
grandeur underlying the sorriest things."
~ Thomas Hardy
"I am inclined to think that as I grow older I will
come to be infatuated with the art of revision, and
there may come a time when I will dread giving up a
novel at all."
~ Joyce Carol Oates
"Even if my marriage is falling apart and my children
are unhappy, there is still a part of me that says,
'God, this is fascinating!'"
~ Jane Smiley