More Baskets = More Stability

Freelance writers can improve their financial sustainability by building relationships with multiple clients. They can further increase their stability by writing in a few different niches. And many serious freelancers will also work toward a diversified mix of offerings, perhaps writing articles for publications, crafting books, teaching classes, speaking at events, critiquing writing, and more. Each new client and offering strengthens a freelancer’s business.

Robert Lee Brewer, Writer’s Digest (Nov. 18, 2022)

Self-doubt vs. Necessary Caution

Self-doubt is the companion that never leaves, that tries to insinuate its way into every moment of the writing process. Think of it as the infestation of termites trying to chew down your house of words. It is also, however—and this is why it is so insidious—related to a necessary caution that writers need: Is this the right word? Am I conveying what I intend to? Is there a better paragraph arrangement here? And so on. As with anything taken to extremes, caution can become disabling. The mind is a delicate instrument and responds badly to excesses of any kind.

Thomas C. Foster, The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing

Tips from Twain

I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English―it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them―then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.

Mark Twain

Get the First Draft Done

The best advice on writing was given to me by my first editor, Michael Korda, of Simon and Schuster, while writing my first book. “Finish your first draft and then we’ll talk,” he said. It took me a long time to realize how good the advice was. Even if you write it wrong, write and finish your first draft. Only then, when you have a flawed whole, do you know what you have to fix.

Dominick Dunne

Delaying Disgust

I never correct anything and I never go back to what I have written, except to the foot of the last page to see where I have got to. If you once look back, you are lost. How could you have written this drivel? How could you have used “terrible” six times on one page? And so forth.

If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky if you write 500 words a day and you will be disgusted with them into the bargain. By following my formula, you write 2,000 words a day and you aren’t disgusted with them until the book is finished, which will be in about six weeks.

Ian Fleming, How to Write a Thriller