Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules of Writing

Over this past summer we lost one of the great writers of the modern era, Elmore Leonard. He was famous for his great dialogue and characters, much more so than his plots, and left behind a lot of great novels, stories, and even TV shows and movies. One other important bit of knowledge he left for us was his 10 Rules of Writing, which are a set of invaluable tips for any writer (if you aren’t familiar with them, I suggest you check them out).

A little while ago the site Brain Pickings shared some links to other authors who provided their own set of writing tips. Author Zadie Smith shared a set of rules that are much different than Leonard’s. Instead of focusing more on the aspect of the writing craft, she speaks more to the life of being an author. She also gives some nice tips for contemporary writers, like “Work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet.”

However, my favorite would have to be: “Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation’. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle’. All that matters is what you leave on the page.”


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