The L Magazine’s Advice to Young Writers

03/01/2010 4:37 PM |

evil typewriter

The Guardian recently got a bunch of writers (some famous, some I’ve never heard of) to bestow upon us their advice for fellow writers. As a desperate, manic depressive writer of fiction for obscure, oddly named journals with slight circulation, I took a personal interest in this… My favorites nuggets of wisdom are:

Margaret Atwood: “Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.”

Roddy Doyle
: “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.”

Anne Enright: “The first 12 years are the worst,” and “Only bad writers think that their work is really good.” (The latter being profoundly, tragically true.)

Richard Ford: “Don’t have children.”

Neil Gaiman: “Laugh at your own jokes.”

Of course, all this free and easy advice-giving moved us here at The L Mag to provide you with our own list of essential writing tips…

1. All of humanity’s power and complexity can be found in season two of Star Trek: Next Generation.
2. Make sure you have a nice snack while you’re writing, like smoked almonds.
3. Write in your underpants.
4. You can’t actually write and masturbate at the same time (we’ve tried).
5. Make stuff up.
6. Steal from your betters whenever possible.
7. Travel, even if just to the corner bodega at least once a day.
8. If experiencing writer’s block, go get drunk and try again the next day.
9. Hangovers aren’t good for writing, but they’re good for observing your own emotions, so pay attention.
10. Pay attention.

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