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Advice From the Archives

In September 1961, the editors of Writer's Digest asked a handful of the world's greatest writers the following question: "What advice would you offer a person who aspires to a writing career?" Their answers follow:
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

AN INTERVIEW WITH HEMINGWAY
In December 1964, Edward Stafford provided Writer's Digest with an interview conducted with Ernest Hemingway shortly before the author's death in 1961. It's excerpted here for the first time in more than 40 years. Please note that the excerpt has been abridged due to space considerations:
AN AFTERNOON WITH HEMINGWAY. LITERARY LEGENDS
What's old in writing advice seems new again, as one writer discovered on his trip back in time through the Writer's Digest archives: Literary Legends by Phil Sexton

"Study the writers' magazines and pound hell out of the typewriter."
—Erle Stanley Gardner

"Sorry—if I had any advice to give I'd take it myself."
—John Steinbeck

"The new writer should observe, listen, look ? and then write. Nothing begets better writing than the simple process of writing."
—Rod Serling

"The beginning writer needs talent, application and aspirin. If he wants to write just to make money, he is not a writer."
—James Thurber

"Beware of advice—even this."
—Carl Sandburg

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Award-winning novelist Elizabeth Shick discusses the complete rewrite she devoted to her debut novel, The Golden Land.

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

Author and athlete Henriette Lazaridis shares six tips and habits that writers can learn from athletes.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Last Chance to Nominate Your Favorite Writing Websites, Our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce the deadline to nominate your favorite writing websites, our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and more!

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

From having reverence for the original to making it your own, author Nikki Payne shares four tips for writing a modern retelling.

Faint vs. Feint (Grammar Rules)

Faint vs. Feint (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use faint vs. feint in your writing with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples. Plus, we answer whether it's "faint of heart" or "feint of heart."

6 Books to Cozy Up With This Winter | Book Recommendations

6 Books to Cozy Up With This Winter

Here are 6 book recommendation perfect for winter reading.

12 Things to Consider When Writing Fight Scenes in Fiction (FightWrite™)

12 Things to Consider When Writing Fight Scenes in Fiction (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch shares 12 things all writers should consider when attempting to write effective fight scenes in fiction.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unreal Character

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unreal Character

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character turn out to be less than they seem.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 15th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.