A collaboration between Medium, Litographs (we make art from books) and 826 National.

— Your Writing Prompt —

5 min readJul 30, 2015

What’s the Best Writing Advice You‘ve Ever Received?

The writing prompt: Over to you…

  • What was the advice? Share so that others can benefit too.
  • Where did it come from? An author, a teacher or maybe a reader?
  • How did it help? Did it give you confidence to take your writing seriously or perhaps it was a graduation speech that inspired you to pick up a pen in the first place?
  • How do you remind yourself? Maybe you have a literary totem sitting above your desk, a post it note reminder that unlocks the words from your fingers? Show it to us!

Have something in mind already? Excellent! Click on the button above and start writing your response while the idea is fresh. Otherwise keep reading for some inspiration from some of our favorite authors!

Below are 14 writerly insights to spark your imagination…


“Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”

Kurt Vonnegut on finding a subject


“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 on filtering feedback


“You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.”

Susan Orlean on loving the process


“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Jack London on inspiration


“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”

Anne Lamott on perfectionism


“In private correspondence the great mystery writer Raymond Chandler once confessed that even if he didn’t write anything, he made sure he sat down at his desk every single day and concentrated. I understand the purpose behind his doing this. This is the way Chandler gave himself the physical stamina a professional writer needs, quietly strengthening his willpower. This sort of daily training was indispensable to him.”

Haruki Murakami: On concentratation


“If you start thinking about being likable you are not going to tell your story honestly, because you are going to be so concerned with not offending, and that’s going to ruin your story, so forget about likability.”

Chimamanda N. Adichie on likability


“Steal stylistically from other writers, as all great writers do.”

Demian Farnworth on borrowing style


“I do my best writing between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.. Almost every friend I have who is a consistently productive writer, does their best writing between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. My quota is two crappy pages per day. I keep it really low so I’m not so intimidated that I never get started.”

Tim Ferriss on creative routines


“Stop in the middle of a sentence, leaving a rough edge for you to start from the next day — that way, you can write three or five words without being “creative” and before you know it, you’re writing.”

Cory Doctorow on rough edges


“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’”

— Maya Angelou on convincing the muse


“At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then — and only then — it is handed to you.”

Annie Dillard on writing’s sensation


“You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.”

Margaret Atwood: On feedback


H.D. Thoreau said, “Simplify, simplify.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson replied, “One ‘simplify’ would have sufficed.”

– Thoreau and Emerson on brevity

– Over to you –

It’s time to share the best writing advice you’ve ever received… simply start writing your response below!

The most thoughtful response submitted before midnight PST on August 13th will not only be shared by Litographs, but you’ll also be sent one Litographs t-shirt of your choice, some official Medium swag and a T-shirt from 826 National!

Once you have published your response below, be sure to tweet it out using #WritingWisdom and mentioning @Litographs & @826National.




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