Trafford Publishing knows that writing is a testing vocation. If you’re one of those writers that are on the brink of throwing in the towel and pursuing something different, take a leaf out of John Steinbeck’s book.
Steinbeck had several obstacles in his early career that he found insurmountable. He never graduated from his studies at Stanford University, he then moved to New York City to try his luck as a freelance writer but again he surrendered to the talent that surrounded him and decided to return home to California.
It was then that his persistence with short stories and novels paid off when he became widely known for his series Tortilla Flat. From here he won the Pulitzer Prize and went on to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. As a testament to his perseverance, Trafford Publishing Author’s Corner presents six Steinbeck quotes to help all the budding novelists out there in those testing times when your flame has almost burnt out.
Although some people believe discipline is a key element and deadlines are imperative for writers, Steinbeck’s approach was the polar opposite.
“Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.”
Readers will be put off if they find what they are reading doesn’t flow. You might hear people saying that they discontinued a book because “it didn’t read well.” No matter how many mistakes you’ve made or how eager you are to correct or re-write your work, continue what you’ve started until the whole manuscript is complete in order to make it flow as Steinbeck attests.
“Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.”
Your narrative needs genuine narration. Without reading what you have penned aloud, it is difficult to ascertain whether it will sound valid or authentic in the readers mind.
“If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.”
Avid readers of the same genre books will possess similar thoughts concerning what they believe is good good-quality and what ought to be shelved and never to be opened again. Why write for a specific audience when you can write for a single person? It is less daunting and mentally more practical for a writer.
“Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.”
A common piece of advice for writers is to write from the heart without becoming too sentimental or emotionally involved in your work.
“Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.”
Finally, you should always write what you believe to be important. No doubt, your readers will find value in your work if you have written what you deem to be significant.
“If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.”
With these six revered writing tips from one of the valued writers in history, Trafford Publishing Author’s Corner hope John Steinbeck has provide the spark required to ignite that flame again and continue your writing journey with every chance of success.