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Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers

Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers
By Maria Popova By popular demand, I’ve put together a periodically updated reading list of all the famous advice on writing presented here over the years, featuring words of wisdom from such masters of the craft as Kurt Vonnegut, Susan Sontag, Henry Miller, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Susan Orlean, Ernest Hemingway, Zadie Smith, and more. Please enjoy. Jennifer Egan on Writing, the Trap of Approval, and the Most Important Discipline for Aspiring Writers “You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.” The Effortless Effort of Creativity: Jane Hirshfield on Storytelling, the Art of Concentration, and Difficulty as a Consecrating Force of Creative Attention “In the wholeheartedness of concentration, world and self begin to cohere.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/05/03/advice-on-writing/

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Dare to Disturb the Universe: Madeleine L’Engle on Creativity, Censorship, Writing, and the Duty of Children’s Books by Maria Popova “We find what we are looking for. If we are looking for life and love and openness and growth, we are likely to find them. If we are looking for witchcraft and evil, we’ll likely find them, and we may get taken over by them.” The Adverb Is Not Your Friend: Stephen King on Simplicity of Style “Employ a simple and straightforward style,” Mark Twain instructed in the 18th of his 18 famous literary admonitions. And what greater enemy of simplicity and straightforwardness than the adverb? Or so argues Stephen King in On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft (public library), one of 9 essential books to help you write better. While he may have used a handful of well-placed adverbs in his excellent recent case for gun control, King embarks upon a forceful crusade against this malignant part of speech: The adverb is not your friend.Adverbs … are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They’re the ones that usually end in -ly.

Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary by Maria Popova Reflections on the value of recording our inner lives from Woolf, Thoreau, Sontag, Emerson, Nin, Plath, and more. “You want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you,” Madeleine L’Engle counseled in her advice to aspiring writers. W.H. Auden once described his journal as “a discipline for [his] laziness and lack of observation.” 6 of The Best Pieces of Advice From Successful Writers I’ve been reading some advice from successful writers lately and exploring what their routines are like to see what I can learn about Here are six of the most common pieces of advice I came across that have helped me a lot improving my writing here at Buffer. It also features actionable tips for you on how to implement them in your own writing.

How To Recognise Famous Painters According To The Internet Art history has never been so easy! Reddit user DontTacoBoutIt (now a dead account) posted a series of famous paintings and gave short but hilariously accurate explanations on how to recognize their authors. According to him, Da Vinci’s works can be recognized by the bluish mist and locations reminiscent of Lord of The Rings movies, while Rubens’paintings can be identified by the figures’ large behinds. Though some may fault them for being gross over-generalizations, these descriptions take the recognizable essence of each painter’s work and put it in very easy words that anyone can understand and, more importantly, remember.

Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck By Maria Popova If this is indeed the year of reading more and writing better, we’ve been right on course with David Ogilvy’s 10 no-nonsense tips, Henry Miller’s 11 commandments, and various invaluable advice from other great writers. Now comes Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel laureate John Steinbeck (February 27, 1902–December 20, 1968) with six tips on writing, originally set down in a 1962 letter to the actor and writer Robert Wallsten included in Steinbeck: A Life in Letters (public library) — the same magnificent volume that gave us Steinbeck’s advice on falling in love. Steinbeck counsels: Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps.

A Developmental Tour of the Imagination: What Children's Use of Metaphor Reveals about the Mind by Maria Popova “Metaphorical thinking … is essential to how we communicate, learn, discover, and invent.” “Children help us to mediate between the ideal and the real,” MoMA’s Juliet Kinchin wrote in her fascinating design history of childhood . Indeed, children have a penchant for disarming clarity and experience reality in ways profoundly different from adults , in the process illuminating the workings of our own minds. But among the most curious of these mediations of reality is children’s understanding of abstraction in language, which is precisely what James Geary explores in a chapter of his altogether enthralling I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World ( public library ). But first, Geary examines the all-permeating power of metaphor:

40 Belief-Shaking Remarks From a Ruthless Nonconformist If there’s one thing Friedrich Nietzsche did well, it’s obliterate feel-good beliefs people have about themselves. He has been criticized for being a misanthrope, a subvert, a cynic and a pessimist, but I think these assessments are off the mark. I believe he only wanted human beings to be more honest with themselves. He did have a remarkable gift for aphorism — he once declared, “It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog (Looking for Blogging 201? Click here!) You’re going to publish a post today. Literature and Bureaucracy by Tim Parks If I were asked what was the greatest problem in the university I work in today, I would definitely say bureaucracy: in particular, the obsession with codifying, regulating, recording, reviewing, verifying, vetting, and chronicling, with assessing achievement, forecasting achievement, identifying weak points, then establishing commissions for planning strategies for regular encounters to propose solutions to weak points, and further commissions empowered to apply for funding to pay for means to implement these solutions, and so on. I am presently involved, for example, in two huge projects: one to give the Italian government an absolutely exhaustive description of the degree course in which I teach and one to give the same, but in response to a different set of questions and assumptions, to the European Commission. We are talking hundreds of pages and hours upon hours that could far more usefully be spent helping students, correcting their essays, and preparing lessons.

3 Tips for Writing Heavy Emotional Scenes Yesterday, I tweeted a link to a great post by Sally Apokedak about not cheating the reader by skipping emotional scenes. Some writers struggle with heavy scenes. They’re uncomfortable with “invading” the privacy of their characters. They worry about creating laughably cheesy scenes. Or they think a scene that’s essential to the emotional journey is unnecessary because the reader already knows what will happen. However, those aren’t good reasons for avoiding writing certain scenes. The Art of Wisdom and the Psychology of How We Use Categories, Frames, and Stories to Make Sense of the World by Maria Popova The psychology of how we use frames, categories, and storytelling to make sense of the world. “It’s insulting to imply that only a system of rewards and punishments can keep you a decent human being,” Isaac Asimov told Bill Moyers in their magnificent 1988 conversation on science and religion.

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