Writers on writing

I have found that the best approach to learning to write is to learn from others who have written before us and from doing the act of writing. Don’t make excuses, just write. Here’s a few videos on writing from writers, who each bring a unique perspective.

Much as I didn’t like William Burroughs the man, I liked Burroughs the social critic and teacher. Burroughs had some unique perspectives on art and writing that transcend his own writing. Kurt Vonnegut was also a unique writer with a voice all of his own. His insights into how we construct stories in life and how we can construct stories for art are compelling. Mark Twain was a writer par none. He is my writing idol, for his ability to transform suffering into gold and his ability to capture the voice of America.

The best advice I can give to any writer is this :

  • Live first and make writing just one of the things that brings you joy.
  • Forget about developing technique. Instead, gather life experience and that will put you a cut above most other writers. Technique will take care of itself.
  • Read anything and everything you feel compelled to read. Never close your mind to any kind of writing. Even a bad book or a crappy newspaper will teach you something. And maintain an interest in the stories of the world in any medium.
  • Tell stories to anyone who will put up with you. My son’s first story was the story of Tiny, a 2 inch man who lived in our house, who came with us everywhere and who led us on all kinds of adventures.
  • Find your own voice and be true to you and no one else.
  • Ignore all advice on how to write.

More great advice on Brain Pickings here : https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/05/03/advice-on-writing/ &  https://www.brainpickings.org/tag/writing/.


See Kurt Vonnegut below (video no.6)





About brightgarlick

Ecclectic kinda guy, who loves life and saviours each day as it is.

Posted on April 1, 2016, in Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Lisa Rubeling

    Thanks for your post on writers and writing! As always much appreciated. A few of my favorite American writers are Burroughs, Kerouac, Vonnegut( and may I add Kurt’s son Mark who I think wrote an excellent account of what is like to be psychotic in The Eden Express; he had his first psychotic breakdown while living on a commune off the coast of British Columbia and who then became a pediatric MD), F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Cheevers, Joyce Carol Oates, and the creme de la creme as far as short story writers or novelists go–Mlle. Flannery O’Connor who harked from Milledgeville, Georgia looking like a spinster school marm–don’t let looks fool ya’–and who wrote gothic even BETTER than Mr. King). Have you ever read any of her stuff? I still haven’t attempted the “cut-up” method that Burroughs and his friend Brion Gysin were messin’ around with, although I think it would be pretty interesting to gather around me a paper ceremony of newspapers, magazines, brochures, business cards, instruction manuals for printers, scientific journals, restaurant menus, tampon packages, rental contracts, and the like and then cut a bunch of type up, shake it all up in a sock, and see what transpires. Not only fun but potentially miraculous! Now howsa’ ’bout discussing some Australian/New Zealand writers??

  2. Lisa Rubeling

    When you mentioned Mr. Twain it brought up a few tidbits of info. I’d read in an autobiography of him. He had precognitive abilities; one event which seems to indicate precognition occurred 2 or 3 days before Twain’s brother was killed on a river barge. Twain had a dream–he visualized an explosion on a barge and then his brother’s death. I can’t remember if he visualized the explosion and then “saw” his brother in a casket, but something akin to those scenarios. Of course no more river-boating for Twain bu at least he took something good from the experience! Apparently Twain almost drowned several times during his youth, and I think he foresaw some of his near drownings. And of course he quipped he was born while a comet was streaking across the sky and he “knew” he would die another 75 years or so later while another comet was making itself known.

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