What's the single best piece of writing advice? Harper Lee, John Steinbeck and Carl Sandburg weigh in

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What's the single best piece of writing advice?

Every week, I spelunk into the Writer’s Digest archives to find the wisest, funniest, or downright strangest moments from our 92 years of publication.

Harper Lee's birthday is tomorrow, so today I went on a hunt to find some Harper Lee quotes somewhere in our archives. I didn't exactly troll up an entire interview (no surprise there, given her lack of media appearances since To Kill a Mockingbird was published*), but I did stumble on this gold mine from 1961.

For a cover story interviewing Lee and a slew of other writers—John Steinbeck, Rod Serling, Carl Sandburg, James Thurber—we posed the question, "What advice would you offer a person who aspires to a writing career?" and asked for a single response.

Here's their writing advice. I'm in the process of geeking out and printing Sandburg's right now so I can place it above my desk.

As for our swag drawing, thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on Janet Evanovich and outlining last week. We dipped a hand into the random WD swag hat, and a name emerged: Sharon Vander Meer. Sharon, can you email writersdigest@fwmedia.com, ATTN: Zachary Petit, and I'll send you a list of free books to choose from?

Happy Friday!

*Here's to hoping it wasn't because we cited Lee as the author of To Kill a Hummingbird. Oy. Some 50 years later, WD still regrets (and still heavily cringes at) the error. Sorry, Harper!

What's the single best piece of writing advice?

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What's the single best piece of writing advice?

Erle Stanley Gardner, Herb Mayes, Paul Engle, Richard Gehman, Francois Sagan

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Thomas B. Costain, Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, Rod Serling

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Stirling Silliphant, Allen Drury, Paul Scott Mowrer, James Thurber

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