Top Ten Tips for Writers

The Guardian has a great article on tips for writers. The article is inspired by Elmore Leonard’s top ten tips for writers and contains contributions from such luminaries such as Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman. The article can be found online at

Some of my personal favorites are:

Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel – Elmore Leonard.

Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK – Diana Athill.

Finish the day’s writing when you still want to continue – Helen Dunmore.

Have fun – Helen Enright.

Inspired by the article, I have written my own top ten list of tips for writers.

1. Don’t buy a TV.
2. Don’t buy a video game console.
3. Don’t get a girlfriend.
4. In fact, just try to avoid having a life in general.
5. Write every day (easier said then done) and set a word count goal for each day. Even the worst day of writing is better than nothing.
6. Always write with a plan. Outline your story before you write. Not everyone is Stephen King.
7. Never write by hand. You will never find the time to transfer it over to digital.
8. Avoid writing groups. They don’t have any idea what they’re talking about.
9. If you’re on your eighth draft, it’s time to stop and kick your manuscript out the door.
10. Trust your own voice, don’t let anyone tell you different.

Of course, if you ask me tomorrow, you would get a completely different list. That’s what makes writing so much fun. There’s no right way to do it.

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