Miscellaneous Monday Morning: Joyce Carol Oates’ 10 Tip Tweets For Writers


Happy Monday dear readers! I’ve always had a hard time getting motivated to work on Mondays, and this Monday is no exception (waking up with a cold=bad “go to work” motivator). On days like these, it sometimes helps me to turn to the prolific writers and see what words of wisdom they have to offer the rest of us. And who in this day and age is more prolific in American literature than Joyce Carol Oates? Not many, that’s for sure!

What’s more, JCO is well known for frequently sending out Tweets via her Twitter handle, JoyceCarolOates. It was there that earlier this year JCO Tweeted out her top 10 tips for writers, which I’ve written out here for your convenience, dear readers. Short and sweet and to the point, they’re just the thing to help you get motivated to pick up that pen and get to work. Enjoy, and have a wonderful rest of your Monday.

  1. Write your heart out
  2. The first sentence can be written only after the last sentence has been written. FIRST DRAFTS ARE HELL. FINAL DRAFTS, PARADISE.
  3. You are writing for your contemporaries–not for Posterity. If you are lucky, your contemporaries will become Posterity.
  4. Keep in mind Oscar Wilde: “A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.”
  5. When in doubt how to end a chapter, bring in a man with a gun. (This is Raymond Chandler’s advice, not mine. I would not try this.)
  6. Unless you are experimenting with form–gnarled, snarled & obscure–be alert for possibilities of paragraphing.
  7. Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!
  8. Don’t try to anticipate an ideal reader–or any reader. He/she might exist–but is reading someone else.
  9. Read, observe, listen intensely!–as if your life depended upon it.
  10. Write your heart out.