50 Writing Tips from the Experts

What better place to find writing advice than from experienced writers? Here are 50 writing tips from some of the world’s best. Got a great quote that I missed? Tell me in the comments.

writing tips for freelance writers

1. The first draft of everything is shit. Ernest Hemingway

2.Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

3.Write drunk, edit sober. – Ernest Hemingway

4. Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting. – Jonathan Franzen

5. The road to hell is paved with adverbs. – Stephen King

6.  If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. – Elmore Leonard

7. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King

8. Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins. – Neil Gaiman

9. You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well. – Jennifer Egan

10. When you’re trying to create a career as a writer, a little delusional thinking goes a long way. –Michael Lewis

11. Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life. –Anne Lamott

12. Work on one thing at a time until finished. – Henry Miller

13. You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it. – Susan Orlean

14. Create blog posts that answer the most interesting questions from people you engage with on social media. – Dave Larson

15. Understand your audience better than they understand themselves. It takes a lot of upfront research, and often means being a member of the very tribe you’re trying to lead – but it pays off. – Brian Clark

16. Write for yourself first & foremost. Ignore the fact that anyone else will read what you write; just focus on your thoughts, ideas, opinions and figure out how to put those into words. Write it and they will come. –Adii Pienaar

writing tips for bloggers

17. Start building your email list from day one. Even if you don’t plan on selling anything, having an email list allows you to promote your new content to your audience directly without worrying about search rankings, Facebook EdgeRank, or other online roadblocks in communications. – Kristi Hines

18. Love the readers you already have. A lot of bloggers get quite obsessed with finding new readers – to the point that they ignore the ones they already have. Yes – do try to find new readers but spend time each day showing your current readers that you value them too and you’ll find that they will help you grow your blog. – Darren Rowse

19. Consistency is one of the most important things that bloggers tend to forget. It’s much easier to lose your traffic than it is to build it up, so make sure you consistently blog.  – Neil Patel

20. Stay true to yourself and your voice. People don’t care to follow sites so much as they care to follow people. – Chris Pirillo

21. No matter how great your content is, it won’t matter unless you have an amazing headline. People have a split second to decide if they should click on your post, and your headline will make them decide. The headline is also essential in making it easy and desirable for people to share your post. Keep your headlines SPUB: simple, powerful, useful and bold. – Dave Kerpen

22. Biggest lesson I learned in my past year of blogging. Keep it in the 1–2 minutes read-time length. – Derek Sivers

23. One thing I always try to keep in mind before publishing a post is would anyone want to “cite” this for any reason? Just like interesting research is great because it leaves you with a fascinating finding or an idea, I like for my posts to be the same. That doesn’t mean relying on research, but simply making sure each post has an original lesson or actionable item, making it “citable” on the web. – Gregory Ciotti

24.  Be efficient, and don’t put things off that you could do right now. No more self sabotage or “next week” lists. Don’t over-prepare and never do the things you’re preparing for. Just be here, in the now, and be as productive as you can today. Write now, edit later. – Deborah Stachelski

how not to procrastinate

25. Remember, your blog is one of your first opportunities to connect with new potential clients. It’s often the first impression you make on a new person! You wouldn’t want to shake hands with a new potential client with a huge piece of spinach in your teeth and garlic breath, and having poorly written content on your website is essentially the same thing (maybe worse). – Allison Volk

26. Your path may look completely different than others, and it should. Creating your own unique blog is what you need to do in order to stand out from the others. The world does not need any more duplicates. – Gabrielle Pfeiffer

27. Vigorous writing is concise. – William Strunk Jr.

28. I try to leave out the parts that people skip.  – Elmore Leonard

29. As one who writes a lot for the web, I am continually tempted by the low-hanging fruit of trending topics and morning news drivel. Restating the obvious is easy, fun, and very retweetable. But the obvious rarely seems to translate into any sort of real legacy. – 

30. The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. – Mark Twain

31. I use a moleskine to store my thoughts for later. Having thoughts and personal commentary all in one place has the added benefit of serving as a source of inspiration for later times of drought. Think of it as you would catching raindrops in a canteen. You’ll be glad for the moisture some day. – 

32. Every writer I know has trouble writing. – Joseph Heller

33.  While having an outline can be incredibly helpful in keeping your thoughts moving and on track, you will actually write more quickly and produce higher-quality writing if you start before you know everything that you want to say. The writing process is creative and interactive, so you will develop ideas and thoughts as you write. – Christine Zosche

34. When you sit down to write your tips and tales from the road, ask yourself: what do I want the reader to learn from this? What’s the take-away? Then craft a tightly constructed piece that leads, step by step, to that lesson-point. – Don George

35. When you write a blog post, you have to create a series of mental images so colorful that your readers could see how a pan sizzles when a patty is put on or even the smell of a recently cooked carrot patty. – Emily Sidley

blogging for beginners
36. Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better – Jack Kerouac

37. Don’t get depressed that you’re abandoning your artistry, because you’re not. On the contrary, you’re building a foundation for it. Once you become adept at freelancing, you not only have income to use for your dream project, but — surprise! You’ve vastly improved your writing skills. And people now identify with you as a professional writer. – The Write Life

38. Whichever way you get into freelancing, the absolute key to success is persistence. Chances are you’ll get knocked back a fair bit but keeping going is the only way to ensure that you get noticed. – 

39. Freelancing is probably not for people who lack self-motivation. If you don’t go looking for work, spending your days shooting off emails and writing pitches, then it is very unlikely the work will come to you. – 

40. Stop trying to figure out the one, best, fastest, lowest-cost way to launch your freelance writing career. Stop endlessly fretting over what your most ideal writing niche might be and how you will know which topics will be best for you. Stop worrying that you’re not good enough or don’t know enough. Instead, take action. – Carol Tice

41. If you are just getting started as a freelance writer, your best bet is to begin taking on small projects in order to build up a portfolio. Ask your first clients to start attributing articles to your name and ask if you can get an author biography with a picture of yourself on their website. – Katie Cline

42. Don’t pat yourself on the back in your blog posts, bragging about what you know about your industry. Let your blog visitors find the value themselves in the content you produce. – William Morrow

43. Write, write, write, and then write some more. Forget everything else and just write. – 

44. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. – Kurt Vonnegut

45. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things. – John Cage

46. Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless! – Joyce Carol Oates

47. Don’t try to anticipate an ideal reader or any reader. He/she might exist but is reading someone else. – Joyce Carol Oates

48. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you. – Zadie Smith

49. Write for scanners. We live in a busy, distracted world. Don’t demand attention; earn it. – Jeff Goins

50. Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously. – Lev Grossman

Want more writing tips on how to become a successful, well-paid writer? Read my book:

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