Some hard-won writing tips for those who struggle with a blank page:
- To write well you must write. This doesn't mean that you talk about writing or read about writing or sit in coffee shops looking like a writer. It means that you must crank out the bad drafts in order to get the good ones. Most accomplished writers are great re-writers.
- Recognize that writing is a craft, not a product of inspiration. You cannot wait for the right mood to stroll in the door. Write every day.
- Be especially wary of phrases and paragraphs that you love. Your affection may hide their flaws.
- Favor simple words and short sentences. Strive for clarity.
- Take a break from your work. What seemed brilliant last night may seem idiotic this morning.
- Read books, essays, and plays by the best writers. Study their secrets. Notice how they capture and hold attention. See how and when they break the rules and yet make things work. Let their work assist you in developing a "Bad Writing Detector."
- Seek to produce work of high quality but beware of the paralysis of perfection. The greatest works of literature could benefit from editing. Their authors knew, however, that a time arrives when the work must be finished.