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106 Lines of Advice for Writers

This is a list of the best writing tips on the internet. It’s a mix of common advice and personal insights from famous and not-so-famous authors.

  1. Write like you talk.
  2. If it sounds like writing, rewrite it. — Elmore Leonard
  3. Write like you’re talking to a friend in a bar.
  4. Don’t write words you don’t speak.
  5. Write what you like to read.
  6. “If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. — Ray Bradbury
  7. Read all your copy out loud.
  8. Anything that can be said can be said clearly. — Ludwig Wittgenstein
  9. Use the words your audience uses.
  10. Use short paragraphs.
  11. Write shorter sentences.
  12. Replace half your commas with periods. — David Perell
  13. The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. — William Zissner
  14. Vary sentence length.
  15. Increase whitespace.
  16. Never use a long word where a short one will do. — George Orwell
  17. Do not use similes, metaphors or other figures of speech that you often read online.
  18. Do not use foreign phrases, scientific words or jargon if there is an everyday equivalent. — George Orwell
  19. Go easy on the thesaurus.
  20. To impress people with your writing, stop trying to impress people with your writing. — Josh Spector
  1. Write to one person.
  2. Address the reader.
  3. Write actively.
  4. Write for skimmers.
  5. Write with passion.
  6. Write from a place of abundance.
  7. Use affirmative language.
  8. Keep it short.
  9. A good argument in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant argument in a hundred sentences. — Scott Adams
  10. Keep it simple.
  11. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication — Leonardo Da Vinci
  12. Remember that many readers are not native speakers.
  13. Every word is a choice and every choice has a consequence. — Josh Spector
  14. Imagine you’re getting paid for every word you cut.
  15. Make your point and get out of the way. — Morgan Housel
  16. Choose words the average writer doesn’t use but understands.
  17. Remove “that” from your writing.
  18. Avoid adverbs.
  19. Ban stopwords.
  20. Be specific.
  21. Use visual language.
  22. Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on the broken glass. — Anton Checkhov
  23. If something bores you, it probably bores your readers too.
  24. Be fascinated in order to be fascinating.
  25. Don’t fall in love with your own words.
  26. Books are not there to show how intelligent you are. Books are there to show your soul. — Paulo Coelho
  27. Imagine you’re writing for a fifth-grader.
  28. Summarise the key points.
  29. Spread the insights evenly.
  30. Novelty is what keeps readers reading. — Julian Shapiro
  31. If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. — Stephen King
  32. Every topic is bigger than it seems at first.
  33. Create content that creates conversation.
  34. Follow the rule of one.
  35. If you try to make more than one point, you’ll make no points. — Benjamin Putano

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  1. Build your narrative around one key question.
  2. Figure out what you want to say by deleting what you don’t. — Josh Spector
  3. Scratch your own itch.
  4. Write about things people see but don’t notice.
  5. When you’re sharing what’s important to you, when you’re sharing the truth that you feel people need to say, you will find that the difficult parts of writing fall away. — Ryan Holiday
  6. Scrutinise every word for bias.
  7. Be aware of the curse of knowledge.
  8. Assume you’ll be misunderstood.
  9. Readers aren’t as smart as you’d think. — Scott Adams
  10. Make your opening sentence intriguing.
  11. Start with a personal story.
  12. End with a question or CTA.
  13. Hide intent in plain sight.
  14. Add value.
  15. Write your first draft with gusto, then edit ruthlessly.
  16. Your first draft is for generating and connecting ideas. — Julian Shapiro
  17. When you write the first draft, you write it for yourself. When you rewrite it, you write it for everyone else. — Stephen King
  18. Once you’ve jumped into the writing process, don’t stop to do more research.
  19. Don’t judge. Let it flow. Edit later. — Prabhsimrat Gill
  20. The best editor for your writing is you in one month. Let enough time pass that you forget what you wrote. — Julian Shapiro
  21. The process of writing your second draft is the process of making it look like you knew what you were doing all along. — Neil Gaiman
  22. When you think you’re finished, retype it. — Nicholas Baker
  23. People think you need to be inspired to write. No, you write in order to get inspired. — Paul Jarvis
  24. Great ideas emerge while writing — not before. — Julian Shapiro
  1. Don’t feel like you need to know exactly what your story is about at the beginning; let the story emerge. — Jamie Russo
  2. The best way to address writer’s block is to start writing.
  3. Show up, show up, show up and after a while, the muse shows up too. — Isabel Allende
  4. Everything you write can be improved, what’s not written can’t be improved.
  5. This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard. — Neil Gaiman
  6. Stop when you’ve got something left to say. — Ernest Hemingway
  7. Always carry a notebook and a pen.
  8. Writers are the best observers.
  9. Don’t be afraid.
  10. Learn from others but don’t compare yourself to others.
  11. Ignore the haters.
  12. Don’t worry about being original; nothing is original.
  13. Amateurs think about entertaining an audience. Professionals think about moving an audience from one point of view to another. — Justin Mikolay
  14. Showing beats telling.
  15. Make your reader feel smart.
  16. Address the pains of your reader.
  17. Write as if someone has their thumb on the end call button.
  18. You should care to share your soul and not to please other writers who will write a review that nobody is going to read. — Paulo Coelho
  19. You can’t be a good writer without being a devoted reader. — J.K. Rowling
  20. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that. — Stephen King
  21. Books are a mix of your and your friends’ experiences. — Chuck palahniuk
  22. To write is to think using your mind’s full capacity.
  23. The difference between good writers and bad writers is good writers know when their writing is bad. — Dan Brown
  24. Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed. — Ray Bradbury
  25. Ignore all the proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say. — Michael Moorcock
  26. Start writing as soon as you wake up. — Benjamin Putano
  27. All those I think who have lived as literary men will agree with me that three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write. — Anthony Trollope

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2 thoughts on “106 Lines of Advice for Writers”

  1. I hope you don’t mind if I make a suggestion: I suggest to make the list shorter. This list has some great advice, but it needs some curating.

    Items 1, 3 and 4 are basically saying the same thing. Remove the redundancies and you provide more value to the reader.

    Thanks for sharing and all the best.

    1. Hi Dave!

      I don’t mind. I understand your point of view and I’ve considered it. Yet I found them to be slightly different enough to include all.

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