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Writing Tips From Writer's Digest Conference Instructors

As we make final preparations for the 2019 Writer's Digest Annual Conference, here's a taste of some of the writing tips you'll enjoy from our speakers.
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As we make final preparations for the 2019 Writer's Digest Annual Conference, here's a small taste of some of the writing tips you'll enjoy from our speakers.

The 2019 Writer's Digest Annual Conference is right around the corner so we asked some of our speakers to share their favorite writing tips. Some of their advice come from their experience as writers or agents, and for others, it might be some favorite words of wisdom they received from someone else. Either way, what you read here is the very tip of the iceberg of what you'll learn from them at the conference.

Writing Tips from Jordan Rosenfeld

Never stop writing at the end of a scene or chapter. Stop midway through even though you know you know what comes next and could finish. It makes it that much easier to start again tomorrow and get into the flow of writing again. - Christine Conradt

Tosca Lee once told me to write the first draft like nobody will read it. That really takes the pressure off. Some of my favorite fighting advice also applies to writing. As my Brazilian coach said in his hard accent, “Nobody care you a tired! You keep a da fighting!” And, that’s true. Nobody cares how hard the writing process is. Nobody cares that your family has eaten Cheerios for dinner three nights in a row and that your house looks like it threw up because you are locked in a room writing for who knows how many hours a day. No. Body. Do it. Get it done. Don’t make excuses. Don’t wait for inspiration. “Keep a da fighting!” - Carla Hoch

Persist. Talent is no guarantee of success; persistence is. You can learn to be a better writer. You can write more drafts, take more classes, query more agents. If you persist at what you need to do to become a published author, you will succeed. - Jordan Rosenfeld

Never fall in love with your first draft. Too many people with great ideas end up settling on an early draft when they really need to keep revising their story. I remember revising the first chapter to one of my books more than 50 times. It was brutal, but essential. That opening chapter remains one of the most powerful I’ve ever written. - Steven James

Make time for your art because no one will. Even if you have to steal ten minutes a day, make sure you help grow your gift. - Lilliam Rivera

Elmore Leonard’s brilliant "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip." I always rework that into "Skip the boring parts." It’s so easy to implement, too: If you find yourself struggling, if writing a scene feels like lifting a heavy object over your head, ask yourself if you’re bored, if you’re writing it just because you think you have to. If the answer is yes, skip it. - Jeff Somers

It depends on what day you ask me! But in the thick of a draft or a revision, I think my favorite advice comes from Patricia Cornwell: To treat your writing like a relationship, not a job. - Jessica Strawser

Here are the three that guide my writing process: 1. Keep the reader reading. 2. Don’t get it right, get it written. 3. Writing is rewriting. - Paula Munier

"Anyone who keeps writing is not a failure." Ray Bradbury said that. And I usually have that on a wall somewhere. I’m lucky in that I’ve always just kept at it, and over time, it all keeps adding up. The longer I work, the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. - Tobias Buckell

The best writing advice I ever read came from Ann Patchett. In her essay “The Getaway Car,” she talks about how what you envision your story being in your head will always be different once it touches the page. Being able to make peace with that simple truth has been crucial to my ability to sit down and write without judgment. - Ran Walker

Read as much as you write. - Barbara Poelle

It comes from the writer George Singleton: “Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don't write daily, you will get rusty.” - Zac Petit

For first person essays or memoirs, my favorite rules are: Mine your obsessions. Lead the least secretive life you can. The first piece you write that your family hates means that you’ve found your voice. The first assignment I give my students is: write 3 pages on your most humiliating secrets. That has led to many clips, books, and even a few movies. - Susan Shapiro

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