Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Getting Back the Writing Bug

Not that you would ever know it from here, but I've regained the writing bug again. I'm trying to write various different pieces here and there, whenever time allows, mostly for the fun of it. I still really enjoy writing and when I get back to it I wonder I don't do it more often (with the usual reasons coming to the fore: family, job, commuting, other commitments).

So with that in mind I thought it might be interesting to put in some writing tips from some of my favourite writers. Here they are:

Mark Twain (19th Century American author, writer of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"): To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.

Peter King (Sports Illustrated NFL writer): Write every day. Write unpaid at local weekly. Then write some more. (source)

Bill Simmons (writer for ESPN.com, author of "Now I Can Die in Peace"): Work in a bar or a restaurant. Learn about people, get up at noon every day, go to bed at 4 a.m. every night, hang out with people who are just as confused and directionless as you are, drink and smoke as much as possible, throw wads of money around after shifts like you're a drug dealer, date somebody with no long-term potential, and live like that for six months. It will be the best thing you ever did. (source)

N.B. I'm pretty sure he also made a point that he asks prospective writers who they are reading, and then bemoaned how no-one reads anymore. Can I find this point anywhere? No, of course I can't. (And I probably don't read enough, especially fiction.)

Will Leitch (former editor of Deadspin, author of "Life As A Loser"): I'll give you the same advice Roger Ebert gave me in college: "Just write, get better, keep writing, keep getting better. It's the only thing you can control." (source)

And although I couldn't find anything definitive by them on the subject, I'll throw a mention out to a couple of my favourite other writers, J.D. Roth (Get Rich Slowly), David O'Brien (Braves beat writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution), Nigel Roebuck (formerly of Autosport) and Gina Trapani (formerly of Lifehacker, now of Smarterware.org).