Last year, the Guardian had a wonderfully entertaining collection of rules from various writers.
Many are prescriptive, and so, are useless. But many are quite helpful and charming bits of advice for writing fiction and living. Here are a few of my faves, but you can find the full list at The Guardian.
- “Do not place a photograph of your favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.” —Roddy Doyle
- “Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.” —Geoff Dyer
- “Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.” —Anne Enright
- “You can also do all that with whiskey.” –Anne Enright
- “Try to think of others’ good luck as encouragement to yourself.” —Richard Ford
- “It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” —Jonathan Franzen
- “Keep in mind Oscar Wilde: ‘A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.'” —Joyce Carol Oates
- “You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.” —Will Self
- “If you have to read, to cheer yourself up read biographies of writers who went insane.” —Colm Tóibín
- “Write.” —Neil Gaiman