Illustration by A. Agastya

How fast can you reach your goal of ‘Writing Better’? Sure learning while you practice the craft is great, nothing can replace experience, but there is an even better way to make the process of learning faster— Stand on the shoulders of giants.

Learn what the greats think about writing, it will help you immensely. Years of experience is boiled down to the simplest understandable quotes, is your way to becoming a pro. It helps you to level your craft quickly and avoid committing amateur mistakes.

Here are listed some of the greatest teachings by the best:

Prose is Architecture, not interior decoration. -Ernest Hemingway:

How better to start than with a quote by Hemingway. Treat your story like it’s a building, the prose is the base and pillars of the story, they add to the stability.

Details lie in the structure of your story, which is needed for the success and failure of the story. Without a solid structure, you can’t have a decent story. On the other hand, if you fall down the pit of ‘making every prose perfect and pristine’, you soon will lose sight of the stability of the story and what you end up with is a mess of beautiful proses that lead to nothing, but more beautiful proses. Most reader won’t bother finding their way through this literally beautiful mess you created.

Your proses must add to the stability of your story, it must move the story forward not confuse the reader.

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write. -Terry Pratchett

Okay, might not have been the people in California, but you get the gist. Writer’s block doesn’t really exist. The only thing that keeps you from not writing is you yourself.

You might feel that you are creatively not active on a given day, you abandon your quest to dive deeper, you quit. Your cognitive dissonance(sly resistance) gives you comfort in the fact that it’s writer’s block.

Writer’s block is but a fancy way of saying ” The problem was greater than me. I lose!” It’s your brain, conserving its mental energy to survive through the rest of the day. Writer’s block is BS.

If you can tell stories, create characters, device incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write. – Somerset Maugham

Simply told and so true as long as you know how to craft a story, your skills really don’t matter as much.

If you have strong characters, great scenes and you can work hard to concoct a decent story, then you are a writer. These are the basic component of a story, if you have these, you don’t really need to write great, you can pretty much write the way you want to.

Writing great proses can make you feel like Dickens for once, but hardly takes your writing success anywhere. Dickens is one of those authors whom many want to read, but very few manage to read.

It took me 15 years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was famous. – Robert Benchley

Here again, the emphasis is on knowing the craft, not the skill. It took Benchley 15 years to discover the fact, but you can find solace in your inability to not write half as good as your favorite writer.

Your writing can make you famous, the key is to have your individuality in it and not kill yourself over bad writing.

Your individuality, you in your writing will make you stand out.

I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly. – Edgar Rice Burroughs

It is the ability to tell the story in a way that it hooks the reader, binds them in its spell, which makes you a writer.

Nothing is more satisfying than a story told well; it resonates. You can write even if you know nothing about writing. In fact, it’s easier when you know nothing. All you need to get good at is, writing an entertaining story.

It’s awesome if you don’t have the pressure of writing great, you can enjoy your freedom.

Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen. -Willa Cather

I believe it is safe to assume that most of the people who are reading this, at least about 95% of them will be above the age of fifteen. Since you have already crossed fifteen you already have the material required to make your story come to life.

So what’s stopping you, you just need to dive deep down the memory lane pluck incidents, talks and nuggets of information and weave it into a story.

You already have, the writer, you want to be, inside you. All you need to do is to bring her to the fore.

Half my life is an act of revision. -John Irving

It will never be good the first time, you have to go through many revisions to make it better. Until you have the best you could possibly do. It is about perseverance in the act of revision that makes the best of you possible.

Be careless, or rather reckless when you start your work and after the first draft is complete revise it again and again till you reach to the boiled down core of what you set out to achieve.

The stories that resonate are made over time, through endless revisions.

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one the only thing you have to offer. -Barbara Kingsolver

Your individuality, your writer’s voice, search for it. Everyone knows Mark Twain, Shakespeare, J. K. Rowling; whom they do not know, is you. Be yourself because they don’t know you and are genuinely interested in you.

No writer was famous because they wrote like someone else, but, because they were themselves. You are different and that difference is needed, to make the mundane interesting.

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good. – William Faulkner

Yes, why not write it down no matter how bad it is, just gets the words down. Never hurts to write. Even if it’s bad it is not the first bad by you, nor will it be the last bad, just write.

Until you get through the bad, until there isn’t a learning curve, you will never get to the better side. If you quit too soon, the good that was trudging towards you will turn away, in fact, it will most definitely run away from you.

Do as much bad as you can, so that the good comes closer to you.

There’s no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story. -Frank Herbert

So are you searching for the perfect end to your novel? Having a completely satisfying ending is an impossibility, in fact having an ending is an impossibility.

A story never ends it merely stops at the point of resolution of the conflict.

Description begins in the writer’s imagination but should finish in the reader’s. -Stephen King

Two people never think alike, nor can the imagination of the writer and reader be alike. Everyone has a worldview, what you think as the right way to a solution may be right for the other person but from a very different perspective.

Even if there is a disagreement a thought is provoked, a transaction occurs and ideas flow.

Writing should be about what you think is right, but the readers will perceive it the way they think it’s right. No explanation is required all that we should do is to tell what we think. Let it catalyze into something superior that even you did not imagine.

Stand on the shoulders of giants, not only do they show you the right way they also provide you with enough insight to avoid you from making the same mistakes, that get millions of people stuck in there writing projects. Stand on the shoulders of giants because you want to improve and improve fast.

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