Anna's Unicorns

Golden Writing Tips

Every budding writer dreams to strike literary gold.

Just like Jane Austen, J. K. Rowling, Virginia Woolf, Stephen King, C. S. Lewis and Ernest Hemingway to name a few.

They don’t come by as often as we like. There are hardworking writers but there’s also many who chooses to wait for that spark of inspiration, or that right mood to set in.

Each writer is unique but we do get a period of laziness. We love to write and passionate about it, but when we finally have a time for it – it seems it is the last thing we want to do. Oh boy!

This makes me think: Sometimes all we need is a nudge, a kick, or a violent shaking from our very own favorite people in the world. The brilliant authors who made it!

Maybe their tips can awaken us from the terrible, dreaded and half-awake slumber we found ourselves into or what I call “procrastination”.

So without further ado… enjoy!


“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window. – William Faulkner



“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King


“I think new writers are too worried that it has all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you.” – Asha Dornfest


“I wrote my first novel because I want to read it.” – Toni Morrison



“There is nothing to writing. All you need to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway


“You can make anything by writing.” – C. S. Lewis


“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel – it is, before all, to make you see.” – Joseph Conrad



“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath


“Perseverance is absolutely essential, not just to produce all those words, but to survive rejection and criticism.” – J.K. Rowling


“When rereading last week’s work, the trick is to stop for a biscuit just before your blood sugar levels drop to ‘every single word of this is worthless.’ – J.K. Rowling



“I had nothing to lose and sometimes that makes you brave enough to try.” – J. K. Rowling


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story.” – Maya Angelou


“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.” – Neil Gaiman



“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a strong scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.” – Margaret Atwood 


“The hardest part is believing in yourself at the notebook stage. It is like believing in dreams in the morning.” – Erica Jong 


“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.” – Maya Angelou 



“Lower your expectations. The happiest authors are the ones that don’t expect much.” – Seth Godin 


“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.” – Alan W. Watts


“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.” – Hugh MacLeod



“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”  – Anne Lamott 


“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” – Kurt Vonnegot 


“Writer advice… Write. Finish things. Go for walks. Read a lot & outside your comfort zone. Stay interested. Daydream. Write.” – Neil Gaiman 



“Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.” – William Faulkner 


“Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it –and then make it right later. Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one. Be wary of “writing rules” and advice. Do it your way.” – Tara Moss 


“When I am grown up I shall carry a notebook—a fat book with many pages, methodically lettered. I shall enter my phrases.” – Virginia Woolf  



“Let us record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, let us trace the pattern, however disconnected and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or incident scores upon the consciousness. Let us not take it for granted that life exists more fully in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small.” – Virginia Woolf 


“Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when if feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.” – Stephen King 


“As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.” – Ernest Hemingway 



One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to himself nicely, “It’s not like you don’t have a choice, because you do—you can either type or kill yourself.” – Anne Lamott


“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” – Anne Lamott 


“Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you’re conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the picture you have planted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.” – Anne Lamott 



“This is our goal as writers, I think; to help others have this sense of – please forgive me – wonder, of seeing things anew, things that can catch us off guard, that break in on feels more spacious. Try walking around with a child who’s going, “Wow, wow! Look at that dirty dog! Look at that burned-down house! Look at that red sky!” And the child points and you look, and you see, and you start going “Wow! Look at that huge crazy hedge! Look at that teeny little baby! Look at the scary dark cloud!” I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world – present and in awe.” – Anne Lamott 


“If I started to wait for moments of inspiration, I would never finish a book. Inspiration for me comes from a regular effort.” – Mario Vargas Llosa 


“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” – Margaret Atwood 



“Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else. – C. S. Lewis


“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. ” – C. S. Lewis 


“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis




“My course is set to an uncharted sea.” – Dante Alighieri 


“Don’t be paralyzed by the idea that you’re writing a book; just write.” – Isabelle Allende 


“Writing is the painting of the voice.” – Voltaire 



“It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself, but to move in an entire universe of your own creation.” – Gustave Flaubert 


You must write for yourself, above all. That is your only hope of creating something beautiful.” – Gustave Flaubert 


“Faire et se taire.” Translation: Shut up and get on with it. – Gustave Flaubert 



“Prose is like hair, it strives with combing.” – Gustave Flaubert 


Prose is architecturenot interior decoration.” – Ernest Hemingway 


“…if you’re quiet, you’re not living. You’ve got to be noisy, or at least your thoughts should be noisy and colorful and lively.” – Mel Brooks 



“That which we persist in doing becomes not easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 


“You just do what you want to do for your own sense of you creative life. If no one else wants to see it, that’s fine.” – Woody Allen 


“Sometimes I think that the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” – Julian Barnes 



“I rewrote the ending of ‘Farewell to Arms’ 39 times before I was satisfied.” – Ernest Hemingway 


“I often recall these words when I am writing, and I think to myself, ‘It’s true. There aren’t any new words. Our job is to give new meanings and special overtones to absolutely ordinary words.’ I find the thought reassuring. It means that vast, unknown stretches still lie before us, fertile territories just waiting for us to cultivate them.” – Haruki Murakami



“Writing novels is much the same. You gather up bones and make your gate, but no matter how wonderful the gate might be, that alone doesn’t make it a living breathing novel. A story is not something of this world. A real story requires a kind of magical baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the other side.”- Haruki Murakami 



“I want to write a novel about silence. The things people don’t say.” – Virginia Woolf 


“You describe a sweet place, but your descriptions are often more minute than will be liked. You give too many particulars of right hand and left.” – Jane Austen’s writing advice to her teenage niece Anna 


“You are but now coming to the heart and beauty of your story. Until the heroine grows up the fun must be imperfect… One does not care for girls until they are grown up.” – Jane Austen’s writing advice to her teenage niece Anna 


It is true we will have difficulty achieving what we set out to do, if we continue our old ways that doesn’t help us. Waiting for an inspiration every time… will have its huge setbacks, and they aren’t pretty. It is like wishing for a snow in the summer. So please don’t wait for Global Warming to make your wish come true. Don’t just say it, do it. Do it now.

We should work our writing muscle everyday. Do not get lost in the promises of tomorrows. Or the deathly trap of the temporary. Never lose sight of where you’re going. Today is always the best time because that’s one day closer to making your dreams happen. They don’t just simply happened. We have to work for it and pay the price.

Also, one last thing. Write because it makes you happy. This isn’t a competition or a quick money making scheme. Be yourself, when you write. Write for you and be pleased. Find your own voice. Make a world that only you can dream of. Write because you love it and you’re passionate about it. Write because like breathing, it is what makes you feel alive. Write with all your heart.  

To all the aspiring writers out there, YOU CAN DO IT!

Now go offline and write,


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