Writing advice from your favorite writers

3 min read

Writing is easy. Grab a pen and a piece of paper, and you’re halfway there. Okay, maybe there is a little more to it than that. But if you have the passion, the technique will follow. In the meantime, your favorite writers have some advice for you. Scroll through these quotes to get your creative juices flowing so you can start (or finish) the story of your dreams.

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” — Stephen King

Not always, but much of the time. Here’s the full quote from Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they're like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day... fifty the day after that... and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it's — GASP!! — too late.”

Are adverbs the hellish creatures King claims? Not necessarily. But they are modifiers, so if you select words with more power and punch, you won’t need them.

“To gain your own voice, forget about having it heard.” — Allen Ginsberg

Any writer knows they are driven by the need to write, rather than any claim to fame. If you truly love writing, you’ll do it whether anyone else ever reads it. Of course, getting published would still be nice.

“Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.” — Hunter S. Thompson

You might be familiar with Thompson’s excessive drug use thanks to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but his writing style was beautifully succinct. Every word you write needs to carry its own weight. Otherwise, cut it. Especially those adverbs.

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” — Ernest Hemingway

If even Hemingway admits to never mastering the skill of writing, what’s the point?

Keep learning. Keep seeking. You will never know everything there is to know about writing, but that’s why it’s magical.

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” — Virginia Woolf

It’s interesting that a quote from one of the original feminist authors uses male pronouns. But ladies, you can gain writing inspiration as well. You will, and should, insert a little autobiography into everything you write. This is what makes your work unique and valuable.

“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.” — Catherine Drinker Brown

And nothing is as soul soothing as finding your flow and writing the almost perfect prose.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou

Writing is therapy, and Maya Angelou would know this better than almost anyone. This sentence taken from her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, speaks to the powerful stories she told. Don’t be afraid to pour out your emotions on the page.

“We’re all curious about what might hurt us.” — Frederico Garcia Lorca

Write about what scares you. It just might help someone else.

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” — Elmore Leonard

Stories are rhythm and flow. Not as loose as a song, but less structured than a textbook. Somewhere in there is your individual cadence. We won’t tell your English teacher if you throw a few rules out the window.

You Might Also Like:

Chat bubbles backgroundDaily QuestionWhat is a synonym for regent?

Start defining your knowledge

Get daily words and quizzes sent straight to your inbox!

By subscribing to Word Genius you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.