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Rebecca Solnit: How to Be a Writer

18 September, 2016

solnitRebecca Solnit recently presented 10 tips for writers. The ones I most appreciate are about shaping and protecting a sense of oneself as a writer. It’s not enough to have a vision of what you want to accomplish in terms of your writing project. You also need to find and maintain the passion and joy of writing. Otherwise, why keep at it?

Many swear they want to be a writer. But the ones more likely to succeed are clear about their writing goal. This focus keeps them on track, both in terms of what they write and how much time they engage in writing and writing-related activities, e.g. reading and research.

Solnit warns about revising prematurely or too often. It’s a common pitfall, enjoying the fun of lovingly recasting little bits of prose and ignoring the major task, developing a substantial draft.

Feedback may seem a great idea, getting a reality check about your material. But its benefit depends on when and what kinds of comments are given. Some writers don’t mind getting quite diverse views about their work. They take what seems useful and ignore the rest. But other writers can become confused and demoralised when they get conflicting opinions about their work to date. It’s worth remembering that if you incorporate everyone’s ideas,  you’ve lost your way. What you’ll end up with is a dog’s breakfast.

SOURCE:  Literary Hub, Sept 13, 2016 online issue.  10 tips for writers. Accessed 18 Sept, 2016.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 September, 2016 4:57 pm

    Yes, they’re not the usual tips, are they? They made me reflect on what I’m doing and not doing.


  2. 20 September, 2016 2:02 pm

    Thanks for an interesting post and I enjoyed reading Rebecca’s article – many valid points for consideration.


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