One of the most infuriating – but true – pieces of advice which I received multiple times from a writer friend is this: “Writers write”. When I was first beginning to think of writing, very unconfident and overthinking the whole thing – he would listen to my questions on the whole process – and especially on getting into the writing market – but always say, as a final full stop: “Writers write.”
He is right.
Today, a slightly longer version of this from Madeleine L’Engle, quoted at the end of a description of her book “And it was good”, on Amazon
I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.
Or to set it out like a piece of instruction on social media:
- keep a private journal for splurging out your questions and thinking through
- read great writers
- write a little each day