Sometimes it may be easy for us to forget that writing is a craft, and as with any craft, it takes practice, work, and study, particularly if we want to be good.
We are fortunate that we have successful authors who were willing to pass down to us not only good advice, but also important information that would help guide our writing paths.
It always helps me when I am needing a boost in my own writing to go back and look at some of these pieces of nuggets left to us from those who went before and succeeded.
One of my favorite quotes that brings me into the reality of writing is by Benjamin Franklin. He said, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." This quote helps me realize we all have something to say. If you look back over your life or families lives, you will find something to write about that is worthwhile.
Another piece of advice I have always appreciated, as I am sure many writers will, is what Saul Bellows said, “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write." For those who are not familiar with his work, he his best known for Henderson the Rain King and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1976 as well as the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976. There have been times I get up during the night, and words will flow to the pages. And when I go back the next day and read them, I don’t have to change anything. I am sure you have experienced this too.
I guess if I had to choose my most favorite quote it would be what Robert Frost said, "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." As writers when we go back and read that first draft, if it does not stir emotions in us, we can bet our readers will not feel any emotions either. To me this is a sure sign I need to rethink what I am writing. I may need to change some of the story, or I may need to throw it in the trash and start over.
William Faulkner said, "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." This is truly good advice. Over the years I have heard my people who are putting their words to paper, hoping someday to be published tell me, “I don’t like to read.” Or here is one I have heard a lot, “I don’t have time to read.” To me reading books is like going to college to get your master’s degree in creative writing. I get to see what worked for each author; how they used dialogues; handle their settings, developed their characters; created the magic of causing their readers to turn the page. Plus was entertained along the way.
Margaret Atwood said it best, "A word after a word after a word is power."
Susan Reichert, author of Listen Close, Between Me and You, God’s Prayer Power and Storms in Life. Published numerous magazine articles and stories in 9 anthology books. Speaker at writing conferences, seminars, and libraries.
She is the founder of Southern Author Services, and Editor of Suite T. She is the retired Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine. Reichert has a passion for writing about God in devotionals, prayers, and inspirational works.
She and her husband live in Tennessee. They have four grown daughters with families of their own. Susan is a member of the DAR and a member of the First Families of Mississippi
Visit Susan at: https://www.susanlreichert.com/
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