The Write Stuff – Famous Writers On The Art Of Writing

by |June 5, 2013

A writer needs advice from all and sundry, and often receives it whether they like it or not.

But from these great writers of the past any advice is good advice, even if it can be a little off the wall…


Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is perfectly fine, strike it out.

– Samuel Johnson

Click here for works by Samuel Johnson


Write without pay until somebody offers it to you. If nobody does so with three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for

– Mark Twain

Click here for works by Mark Twain


The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in shock-proof shit detector

– Ernest Hemingway

Click here for works by Ernest Hemingway


If you read twenty or thirty pages by a writer and want to continue you are swimming in their sea.

They can write quite badly after that because you’re hooked.

– Brian Moore

Click here for works by Brian Moore


The principle of writing is to make your mother and father drop dead of shame.

– J.P. Donleavy

Click here for works by J.P. Donleavy


No one can ever write about anything that happened to them after they were 12 years of age.

– Ignazio Silone

Click here for works by Ignazio Silone


If you are a writer, there will come at least one morning in your life when you wake up and want to kill your agent

– Bernice Rubens

Click here for works by Bernice Rubens


Writing is easy.

All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.

– Gene Fowler

Click here for works by Gene Fowler


There are three basic rules for writing a novel.

Unfortunately nobody knows what they are.

– W. Somerset Maugham

Click here for works by W. Somerset Maugham


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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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