Geoffry Landis on writing

pencils

According to Landis . . .

“You can’t beat Heinlein’s rules, which in compressed form are:

Write it, finish it, submit it, repeat it; that’s it.

However, some additional tips:

  1. Between first draft and the published page you’re going to have to read your own work dozens of times, so you’d better write what you like and like what you write.
  2. Write the best you are able to, but don’t be afraid to write crap if that’s all you can do on a particular day. (If nothing else, it gets the crap out of your system.)
  3. Writing isn’t life. Don’t allow yourself to define your self-worth by what others (including editors) think of your writing.
    • If you’re not being rejected, you’re not aiming high enough. If you can’t deal with rejection, don’t be a writer.
    • Be ready to ignore other people’s suggestions. Somebody can tell you something that’s absolutely write, and true, and good advice– but it’s wrong for your story. (On the other hand, if the advice is right for you story, don’t be proud– take it!)
  4. Finally, and most importantly: the only absolutely essential part to being a writer is that you must sit down and write. Library trips, manuscript submissions, going to cons, market research– all that stuff is fine, but writing is what you do alone in a room with just you and your word processor, and nothing else substitutes for it.

And always remember this: when nothing is going right, when you have a really lousy day, you can always tell yourself the writer’s mantra: ‘well, it’s all grist for the mill.’ ”

Landis’ website

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