How to Make Your Writing as Good as Your Ambition

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mind-the-gap

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone had told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know that it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is DO A LOT OF WORK. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you finish one piece. It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You just gotta fight your way through.” — Ira Glass

Credit: Steve Bowbrick

Writing Advice from F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hat tip to Flavorwire for shining a light on this piece of advice published on Letters of Note. It’s from F. Scott Fitzgerald to the aspiring writer at the time, Frances Turnbull, who sent him a story for comment while she was a student at Radcliffe. (The Turnbulls owned a summer house called La Paix, which Fitzgerald rented in 1932-1933 and where he wrote portions of “Tender Is the Night.”) Continue reading

Not-So-Literary Jobs of Famous Writers

I have a day job. I edit content for the Discovery News Tech website. I also have a life that fills up with lots of activities that have nothing to do with writing. So squeezing in the time to write feels just like that, a squeeze. Sometimes I fantasize about how wonderful it would be to not have a job, and simply focus all of my energy on writing fiction. But I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills. I’m not alone in this wishful thinking, and that’s a little consolation. There are plenty of writers in the same boat, working a day job to pay the bills and squeezing in the time to write. You might be one of them. Take heart knowing that plenty have come before you, working jobs that had nothing to do with writing fiction. Here are a few: Continue reading

Do You Have Talent?

Recently a writing friend asked me, “How do you know if you’re any good?” It’s funny that she mentioned this because that same week I was talking with another friend about writing and I told him that I wondered if I was smart enough to write fiction. How would I know? How does anyone know? Especially if you’re like me and haven’t published any fiction yet.

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