Writing Advice from Sherman Alexie

The Top 10 Pieces of Writing Advice I’ve Been Given (Or That I’ll Pretend Were Given to Me)

  • Don’t Google search yourself.
  • When you’ve finished Google searching yourself, don’t do it again.
  • Every word on your blog is a word not in your book.
  • Don’t have any writing ceremonies. They’re just a way to stop you from writing.
  • Turn your readings into events. Perform and write with equal passion.
  • Read 1,000 pages for every one you try to write.
  • In fiction, research is overrated. But that means readers will write you correcting all of your minor biographical, geographical and historical errors. If you like, make those corrections in the paperback, but don’t sweat it too much.
  • Don’t lose the sense of awe you feel whenever you meet one of your favorite writers. However, don’t confuse any writer’s talent with his or her worth as a human being. Those two qualities are not necessarily related.
  • Subscribe to as many literary journals as you can afford.
  • When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author. Be effusive with your praise. Writing is a lonely business. Do your best to make it a little less lonely.

—Sherman Alexie
—from Tin House

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