- Read. Read. Read. The more you read the better writer you can become. When you are setting out to become a writer it’s more important to read than it is to write. Reading is the best teacher of writing. My own mantra is: Writers don’t write writing, they write reading. And remember, when you write you are writing for readers. Having a journal, keeping a diary, is fine, but when you write the way I do (novels, short stories, and essays) you are writing for other people. You want them to understand, laugh, cry, feel tense, and so forth.
- Nobody, nobody, nobody, writes anything very well the first time. One and done won’t work. Real writing is rewriting. I just sent in a new book to a reader for criticism, but I think I’ve already rewritten the book eighty or so times. It took the most part of a year. But when I get the critique I will surely rewrite some more.
- If you write something once and you think it’s good, you are in trouble. Because it is not done. If you write something and you think “this is not so good,” that’s great because you can make it better.
- Write what you like to read. If you like science fiction, write that. If you hate mysteries, don’t write them. Writing what you like to read sharpens your self-criticism.
- Try not to talk about what you are writing. Don’t explain your writing. If it is not on the page, then the reader cannot get it.
- The easiest way to sense the quality of your own work is to read it aloud to someone. Do so with a pencil in hand. You’ll be amazed thatyou will notice how many parts of your work can be improved.
- And again, read, read, read!
2 thoughts on “Q&A: Have you any advice for would-be writers?”
Avi, Love your honesty and sage advice! These pearls of wisdom work not only for my third-graders but for me, as well. Write on!
I rarely comment but wanted to stop by to say Thank You, and please keep writing these blogs.
I am working with a small group of 5th and 6th graders in an afterschool writer’s “lab”. We are pushing the boundaries of what we know and understand about writing and writer’s craft. I’ve shared your blogs a couple of times. Knowing what a it takes to be a great writer helps dispel their fears and encourages them through the struggle of seeing a story come to life. We are grateful for your guidance.