writing advice from zadie smith
Read this on Gabrielle Wang's FB status feed and thought it had to be shared. I love that last sentence. I can so relate because I feel it each and every day.
One of my favourite 10 Rules of Writing comes from Zadie Smith.
1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books.
Spend more time doing this than anything else.
2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
3. Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation’. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle’.
All that matters is what you leave on the page.
4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing.
5. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
6. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
7. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
8.Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.
9. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
10. Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand — but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.
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Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
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