Advice for Writers


RWW Faculty Mary Clearman Blew

Many of you have asked for us to publish Mary Clearman Blew’s “Advice for Writers” from her 2012 graduation ceremony remarks. Here they are (with our thanks to Mary for sending them!)

  1. Don’t beat up on yourself for not writing enough. Cut yourself some slack.
  2. Remember that writing 100 words a day is better than not writing at all, and will often lead to more.
  3. Learn the difference between serious demands on your time (work, family) and procrastination.
  4. Subscribe to at least one literary journal and read it.
  5. Buy books and read them. (Musicians will say, If you can’t be practicing, listen to music. I say, if you can’t be writing, read.)
  6. Never, never, never badmouth your own work. There are too many people in the world who will love to do it for you.
  7. Never show your unpublished work to anyone whose judgment you don’t respect.
  8. All writers need solitude, but isolation can be deadly for a writer. Learn the difference.
  9. Hang out with other writers. Form a writing group. Stay in touch with RWW writers.
  10. Enjoy being a writer! What could be better? Drink Wild Turkey.
  11. And don’t forget to tip the whippers!

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