Writing tips are like beer nuts.
No matter how many you have, you always want more.
But do you ever get the feeling that the writing “experts” who are dispensing the tips barely have more experience than you?
Which usually means their advice is either second-hand or second-rate.
And maybe that’s why it fails to hit the spot, and you find yourself reaching robotically for the next tip.
The thing is, sometimes you have to go back to the source to find the real stuff — wisdom borne from personal experience, not well-meaning guesswork or threadbare philosophical hand-me-downs.
So we’ve collected some truly valuable writing advice from authors whose books have achieved what few others’ have — landing on the coveted New York Times Bestseller list.
#1. There is No Muse
#2. Ignore the Rules
#3. Knowledge is Poisonous
#4. Writing Is Your Exhale
#5. No Telephones, TV or Videogames
#6. Writing is Hard but Coal Mining is Harder
#7. Everything is Relevant
#8. Force Yourself to Finish, Even If It’s Garbage
#9. Never Make Them Read a Sentence Twice
Source: Ken Follett: Masterclass
#10. Stop Making Improvements and Start the Next Book
#11. Everyone Has to Work a Day Job First
Source: Interview with Jim Butcher
#12. Write Even When Your Kids are Sick
Source: Kristin Hannah: FAQ
#13. Daydreaming Isn’t Writing
#14. Don’t be Afraid of Radical Surgery
#15. Discover Where the Lies are Buried
#16. Writing is Simply a Matter of Discipline
#17. Rearrange Your Life
#18. Talent Won’t Get You Published
Source: Gillian Flynn: How I Write
#19. Stop Trying to Edit Your Curiosity
Source: Malcolm Gladwell on writing
#20. Commit to a Goal
#21. You Don’t Need a Degree in Writing
#22. Rewrite It Fifty Times If You Have to
Source: 5 Writing Tips from Tana French
#23. Being Stumped is Essential
#24. Everybody Sucks at First
#25. Abandon Good Ideas for Better Ones
#26. Write, Even If People Think You’re Crazy
#27. Write Until the Water Runs Clear
Slipstream the Success of These Bestselling Writers
Not all writing advice is created equal. Nor every writer.
But the lessons from this list are based on countless hours of experience accumulated by writers who rose to the top of the pile.
Not every example will resonate with you, but you can be sure those that do are grounded in the practical realities of becoming a successful writer.
So it’s time to stop chasing new tips and start applying the battle-tested advice of the true experts.
Because the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have a shot at joining this league of celebrated writers.
So… which lessons will inspire your future success?