As if I could even begin to tell you. Who am I? I’m just the prose editor of Opus. But I know some really talented writers who can tell you how to be a successful writer. And awaaaay we go!
Some wisdom from this year’s Big Read guest, Tim O’Brien: “No book ever gets written by thinking about it or going bowling or playing golf. You have to put your butt down and spend many, many hours in front of a computer or a piece of paper, and don’t get up, even if you’re blocked or don’t know what’s going to happen next or you don’t know what the next sentence should be. You’re like a donkey, you just keep plodding. And that quality of stubbornness and perseverance is really important.” How do you like that? Your bestselling novel isn’t going to write itself.
Even Toni Morrison gets stuck. Her advice? “When I sit down in order to write, sometimes it’s there; sometimes it’s not. But that doesn’t bother me anymore. I tell my students there is such a thing as ‘writer’s block,’ and they should respect it. You shouldn’t write through it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now.”
And, finally, a last bit of advice from F. Scott Fitzgerald that reminds us how tough the writer life can be. “Work like hell! I had 122 rejection slips before I sold a story.”