100 Words of Wisdom for Writers

The fantabulous Joni Rodgers, founder of The LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY AUTHORS, with which I am so proud to be associated, is putting the finishing touches to her book, FIRST YOU WRITE: The Worst Way to Become an Almost Famous Author and the Best Advice I Got While Doing It.

And she asked me to offer 100 words of writing wisdom for aspiring writers.

(Quick Aside: Isn't that a great title? Joni is the title queen. Her cancer memoir – she's from Texas – is called Bald In The Land of Big Hair.)

Anyhow…  As you know, I've written reams about writing over the years but 100 words, at short notice, really forced me to concentrate.

In all the senses of that word.

So here it is. Everything I think about writing in one paragraph:

To write is to serve, to put your heart and soul into service. Who do you serve? The collective human heart and soul, the inner life of others.

Like all service, writing is hard work. You must funnel reams of words through your fingers, laying down sentences like an athlete lays down miles. You must go on your knees to the mysteries of creation, like a priest before the altar.

You must develop practices that cocoon your inner, imaginative life, protecting it from from assaults by the outer world — including your own longings for money and fame — so you can keep on giving. You must read widely, and emulate writing masters, until you've worked out what it is that only you can say.

And how you're going to say it.

Do all this well and you’ll find your service to others also serves you, all the days of your writing life.


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