12 Harsh But True Writing Tips To Indulge Your Melancholy

Does your writing process journey you to places that never existed?

You’re not alone. The exclusive journey to an unknown abyss or incredible adventure, is why ‘true’ writers write. Before you know it, thousands of words form in front of you and it’s ten past midnight two days later. What a magical experience.

But being a writer is also a hard, tedious, and often exhausting life. The process of creating can be as destructive to the soul as it is incredible. This bitter-sweet experience stems from the writer’s inability to choose to write. Rather, the need to create is innate, unstoppable, and sometimes (particularly from an outsider’s perspective) downright cruel.

But regardless of the writer you consider yourself to be, there seems to be a consistent thought among those who write professionally.

Discard what you think you know about writing and contemplate the harsh but true advice from some of the literary greats wanting to indulge your melancholy just a little bit further.

1. Notice how many of the Olympic athletes effusively thanked their mothers for their success? “She drove me to my practice at four in the morning,” etc. Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home. –Paul Theroux

2. The first draft of everything is shit. – Ernest Hemingway

3. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. – George Orwell

Pulitzer Prize winner and “To Kill A Mockingbird” author Harper Lee was born on this day. She died in February 2016 at age 89. She’s shown in 2007 when she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House. (Getty Images: Chip Somodevilla)

4. I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. – Harper Lee

5. You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. – Jack London

6. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King

British novelist and playwright W Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965) relaxes on a sofa. Original Publication: People Disc – HH0153 (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

7. There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. – W. Somerset Maugham

8. If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do. – William Zinsser

Portrait of Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961), American journalist, novelist, and short story writer. “Back home, I start work at five. I’ve been working since five. I like to start things early. It comes of living in the country.”

9. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration. – Ernest Hemingway

10. Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. – Oscar Wilde

11. Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you. – Neil Gaiman

12. You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. – Ray Bradbury


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