Writing Tips from Best-Selling Authors

We could all use a little inspiration sometimes. As authors, the best-sellers are the people we look up to and idolize, the people whose seats in the public eye we would one day like to sit in. So, what do those authors have to say to us to help us get there?

Patrick Ness – Write what you want to read
The best-selling author of the young adult novel A Monster Calls says you need to be interested in reading the story you’re writing. “…Always, always write a book you want to read yourself, because you’ll be amazed at how many people don’t, and they write for other people or the market, but it’s the books you write for yourself that other people want to read.” Wonderful advice from Ness, who finished the story that was originally conceived by Siobhan Dowd. Dowd passed away from cancer before she was able to finish the book.

Stephen King – The only way to fail is to give up
Stephen King, the author of 61 published novels and more than 200 short stories, got where he is today by sheer persistence. King recounts his early years of writing: “By the time I was fourteen (and shaving twice a week whether I needed to or not) the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.” As a writer, giving up is not an option, and continuing to persevere is the only way up.

Jodi Picoult – Just do it
No long-winded quotes here, Jodi Picoult’s sage advice for aspiring authors is quite simply this: “DO IT”. There’s no other way to get it done otherwise. You’ll never be a successful author if you keep your project in your head forever. So do it, just so you can say that you did.

Margaret Atwood – Talent is relative
Canadian icon Margaret Atwood says she wasn’t pegged to be a bestselling author by those around her growing up, “I started writing seriously at 16 in grade 12. I had no journals, no interest in writing until that time. My eleventh-grade teacher was interviewed some years ago in a ‘This-Is-Your-Life’ type project. She was quite honest and said that she saw no particular talent in me at all.” Only you know what lies inside of you, and talent is difficult to measure. All you can do is give it your best shot. Nobody but you can tell you if you do or do not have what it takes to make it as an author.

Harper Lee – Write for the love of writing
It does no good to write in the hopes of getting rich and famous, but rather to write with the goal of sharing the story in your heart. At least that is the advice of To Kill a Mockingbird author, Harper Lee. She says, “Hope for the best and expect nothing. Then you won’t be disappointed.”

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