Tuesday, January 12, 2021


 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

When thinking about beginnings and all that entails for artists I thought of all the advice we get given over our lifetimes. They are numerous and like all advice, worth what you pay for them. Still, there are nuggets that shine through, especially for me as I take the writer's journey. It seemed an appropriate time to share eight of them with all of you.

1. Elmore Leonard published a book "Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing" in 2007. While all of his ten are worth taking a look at but the one that sticks out to me is: Leave out the parts readers tend to skip. And to add a bonus 'If it sounds like writing, I re-write it."

2. George Orwell, known for "1984" and "Animal Farm" said: If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

3. Neil Gaiman, has a list of eight that are so simple, yet we don't think about them. His #1 is Write and #8 is The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like ...

4. Joyce Carol Oates has something I personally relate to:  Read, observe, listen intently - as if your life depended on it. 

5. Helen Dunmore's advice: Finish the day's writing when you still want to continue.

6. P.D. James: Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

7. Louis L'Amour's advice: Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.

8. Rainer Marie Rilke, who wrote the lovely book, "Letters to a Young Poet" gave this piece of advice: "Go into yourself. Find the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write."

Most of us have favorite authors, a number of them are here at Cowboy Kisses. While advice helps, it's the joy of writing, the heartwarming feedback from the readers we write for and telling the story in the way only the individual writer can. 

For writers, please keep writing. For readers, let the authors you've read know what their work means to you. It's the conversations that add so much to the experience and makes all the hours authors spend honing the story worth it. 

Advice helps us focus, but the real work: Telling your story.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -

Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in

Colorado and Women's History

Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet


GiniRifkin said...

thank you for the peek at how famous authors view and approach with craft. Encouraging and informative.

Renaissance Women said...

You are welcome. Writers, I think, sometimes believe they are alone in their process. I just wanted to let them know, we care. Doris

Author Heidi Gray McGill said...

This was uplifting. Thank you!

Renaissance Women said...

I'm glad you found it a good read, Heidi. It was my pleasure to write this one. Doris

Elizabeth Clements said...

I love reading about advice given by authors and you highlighted some good quotes. I've often read/heard the advice given to write about what you know. While this is true, I prefer to write about what I love and enhance it from research. I enjoyed your post and your blogs, Doris.

Renaissance Women said...

Thank you for your continued support and kind words, Elizabeth. I also take heart in what others have shared. Doris