Writers Flock to Tipsy Turvey

Kurt Vonnegut speaking at Case Western Reserve...

The Internet is awash with tips for writers. Some are excellent, many are cliches, and a few of them are both practical and original. Here is a short collection of some of the most interesting. I like these because they are the opinions of other writers. After all, who should know better.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” (Stephen King)

I re-wrote the ending to “Farewell to Arms”, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.” (Ernest Hemingway)

Start as close to the end as possible.” (Kurt Vonnegut, one of the eight rules for writing a short story.)

For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.” (Anne Lamott)

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place…. Something more will arise for later, something better.” (Annie Dillard)

What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” (Maya Angelou)

William Stafford, explaining how he managed to be so prolific, said: “Every day I get up and look out the window, and something occurs to me. Something always occurs to me. And if it doesn’t, I just lower my standards.” (www.daringtolivefully.com)

The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” Mary Heaton Vorse (www.daringtolivefully.com)

If it sounds like writing, I re-write it.” (Elmore Lenoard)

If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.” (George Orwell)

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

When you can’t create you can work.” (Henry Miller)

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” (Elmore Leonard)

Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” (Stephen King)

I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until it’s finished.” (James Patterson)

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.” (Ray Bradbury)


14 thoughts on “Writers Flock to Tipsy Turvey

  1. Thank you for these, Michael … I really need to listen to these people at the moment. I’m not writing as much as I should so I’m making it up by using the time for reading and thus analysing which I hope will be helpful to me.

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