On The Best Advice They’ve Received About Publishing and Writing

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Since I often ask similar questions of people I interview, I wanted to collect some of their responses here, under the umbrella of that particular topic. That way, if you’re looking for quick advice or inspiration on a particular subject, you can browse these posts to see what a variety of very talented writers and other professionals say.

Here, I’ve collected together responses to the question: What’s the best advice you’ve received about publishing or writing?

I’ve linked to each full blog post below–and if you click the link, you can also scroll down to find the ways you can follow or connect with these authors.


“I think the best advice I ever got was from my dad. He always said to me that the key to getting published was persistence and that you just had to keep going and working hard whenever you received a setback. It helped me get into the right mindset from the very beginning and not just expect that everything would come straight away, or easily.”

Alex Bell


“The best advice was from Steven King’s book On Writing. It read something like, ‘Don’t listen to all the ta-do about how hard it is to get published. It may be hard. But there is always room for those who are talented.'”

Carol Plum-Ucci


“This advice is from Ernest Hemingway, and it helped me cope with my fear of long-form writing:

The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time… Never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day. The main thing is to know when to stop. Don’t wait till you’ve written yourself out. When you’re still going good and you come to an interesting place and you know what’s going to happen next, that’s the time to stop. Then leave it alone and don’t think about it; let your subconscious mind do the work.

I was afraid I would run out of gas or lose my place if I attempted to write every day for months on end. When you save a little juice for the next day, you start with a push that sparks your imaginative engine. You live to chug away yet another day.”

Kathleen O’Dell


“If something is too clever, you need to cut it.” My editor wrote that in my very first edit letter and at the time I was like “Wut” but it’s so true. Isolated bits of cleverness, too-pretty writing you spent hours labouring over, puns, etc., can rip a reader out of the flow, slow things down, be jarring and annoying. I’m still learning this lesson, but I think writing books is about sustaining and modulating mood, not stringing together clever bits of dialogue and visuals.”

Stefan Bachmann


“The best advice I received was to write another book while I was querying my first. It wasn’t something I wanted to hear— I wanted the book I was querying to land an agent and a book deal! That book didn’t pan out, and it was easier to move on and set it aside because I had another manuscript ready to go. I’d tell authors who want to get published to always be thinking about the next book and not to pin all their hopes on their first book.”

Kara Thomas


“An older, wiser writer once told me: “write what obsesses you.” I’ve never forgotten it. Being completely obsessed with your work– or the question it strives to ask– is the only way you’ll have the passion and energy to see it through to the end.”

Danya Kukafka


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