From Public Thinker: Tressie McMillan Cottom On Writing in One’s Own Voice
One of the prompts in this season’s memoir writing workshop was to think about all of the excuses we make to NOT write; to avoid the writing that we love so much. This list is not all inclusive, but this is what came forward for me on this topic. What are some of your excuses not to write?
The Write Life has compiled a list of 20 Inspiring Writing Podcasts to Subscribe to right now. I’d recommend giving them a try before subscribing, but it’s easy enough to unsubscribe if a particular podcast isn’t for you.
Look for a special bonus Writing Advice later on this afternoon to finish out the series!
Bernard Cornwell is one of the foremost writers of historical fiction. His fictional travels have taken me from the Anglo-Saxon period through to the Revolutionary War. He has a brilliant way of describing the battles and creates the vision in your mind so you feel as though you were there.
For a long time, I resisted reading his Winter King trilogy that focused on King Arthur. I have had my own image of Arthur’s world of Camelot and Excalibur since my five page high school paper on Thomas Malory’s L’Morte D’Arthur that went on for over fifteen pages. My teacher was not thrilled. In addition to that being ingrained in my head and heart, I also had the John Boorman Excalibur movie with Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, and Nicol Williamson that I was attached to. When I eventually gave in to my friend’s persistent recommendation, I could not put The Winter King down and it is now my headcanon. The next two books were equally enthralling and I highly recommend them and every other one of Cornwell’s books.
I’ve read his only historical (non-fiction) book, Waterloo is also brilliant.
Here is some of his writing advice for you to enjoy and incorporate.
Wil Wheaton is one of my favorite writers, nay people. I don’t agree with everything he espouses, I don’t think anyone can agree with everything anyone espouses, but we’re on the same wavelength more often than not.
He is a writer’s writer. When he finds something that works, he doesn’t hoard or hide it; he shares it with the masses and he believes you can be a good writer too.
In this blog post, he shares the three books that have made him a better writer. I have read Stephen King’s On Writing, and have highly recommended it. I now have the two other books on my to-read list because Wil’s advice is usually spot on.
And while you’re taking his writing advice, read his work as well!
Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers in the world. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have never read any of his fiction. Not one. I’ve also never seen the movies except part of Stand by Me. His genre of horror has never been something in my wheelhouse, but I did admire him as a writer and a person. I follow him on Twitter and he wrote a magnificent essay on JK Rowling for Time magazine.
The one book I did manage to acquire and read was his memoir/advice for writers book, On Writing. I found it engaging, brilliantly written and so beautifully in his voice. Writing this reminds me that I should re-read it just because.
Here are a few of his quotes that I feel drawn to:
- The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.
- Let me say it again: You must not come lightly to the blank page.
- You go where the story leads you
- If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
- I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.
Stephen King’s Writing Toolbox is a strategy after my own heart. I love the idea of tools and toolboxes to get us through everyday life – that specialized item that is exactly what we need right at that moment in time.
Two Interviews with Stephen King
with The Independent (from 2017)
with The Atlantic (from 2013)
While I don’t agree entirely with all of these recommendations, I still think it’s a good idea to read what works for some writers and then take what works for you.
Tips for Writing and Other Answers
JK Rowling is one of my true inspirations to keep at my writing. Not only do I enjoy reading her work, she is truly an example and role model of how to share your success, and know yourself and your priorities. Enjoy her words of wisdom.
Writing Advice from a Pro: