Friday, May 25, 2007

Best Writing Advice, Ever

The best advice I was given was to write every day.
You get to be a better writer by writing.
~John Baker, novelist

The best writing advice I ever received came near-simultaneously from two different sources.

I was struggling through my first full-length work, finding it a very different and untameable animal from short fiction. Writing the book was like walking against a wind machine where life, other story ideas, and lack of polished expertise threw themselves against my every effort.

I bemoaned this fact to friend and colleague Susan McBride. Her answer was simple. "Just do it," she said. "Write straight through, stopping only long enough to jot notes on vital flashes of inspiration."

Sure it made sense, but it was too darn simplistic. And easy for her to say, I thought. She had a book series with Harper-Collins. But sometimes, the simplest of answers is the best.

Still feeling sorry for myself, I happened to pick up a copy of Stephen King's On Writing. His advice? "Just do it."

That's when the truth hit. For those of us who must write, the discipline to do so lies within that very drive. The manuscript that had sat in messy bits for fifteen months became a finished work within three, and the next novel was written in four.
~Lisa Logan, author of Visions, released January 30 2007 by Draumr Publishing

Lisa Logan is a Southern Californian with several short stories and articles published. Her first novel, Visions, was published in early 2007. Lisa is also the editor of, an author promotion site and flash fiction webzine.


Vicki said...

Great blog and great advice. I know that I need to write daily. I say I'm going to write daily even if it's for 30 minutes. And then that little thing called "life" pops in with some new problem or time hog that gets in the way. When what I really need to do is sit down and write anyway.

So, maybe it's time for me to read Stephen King's book again. :)

Ana P. S. said...

Hi Nienke, how have you been? Anyway, I am blog hopping today, I hope you have a nice day and fun holiday tomorrow.

Sayre said...

I absolutely love Stephen King's "On Writing" book! He is so matter of fact - and quite up front with his struggles at first. I need to read it again, too!

Lisa Logan said...

Definitely...and sometimes, the simple and matter of fact tips are the ones that make the biggest difference!

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

It's the difference between being a "Writer" and a "Wroter." I am trying to work myself back into that first category!

Thanks, Nienke! Great post!

Josephine Damian said...

My screenwriting teacher shared with us some advice he'd received from a mentor:

Every time you sit down to write, ask yourself this one question:

How can I entertain my audience?

Substitute "reader" for "audience" if your talking books, and there you have it, great advice.