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Pep Talk from Avi

Hello Writers,

Why is writing, well, so hard to do? After all, these days, most everybody who goes to school is taught to write. In fact, when I checked online I found the claim that something like one hundred and ninety thousand books are published in the USA each year! Astonishing! Yet, look at the number of best-sellers, prize-winning books, or just the books that last—the fine books—and there are just a few. What makes these few so much better than others? Is there a secret? A formula? A method known by only some?

It all comes from the individual writer. First, you have to be a good reader. Because writers do not write writing, they write reading. In other words, you want to write so that people feel compelled to read your words. By reading the good stuff, you will learn what good writing is, and can apply those standards to your own work.

Learn to see the world with your own eyes. No matter how wise your parents, friends, teachers, and idols are, observe the world with your own being, your own soul. See details, relationships, events, the whole complexity of the world as only you can see it—and then find words to describe it in ways that lets your reader see this world with your vision.

Write with compassion, not judgment—a compassion enriched by love for your fellow beings.

Finally, know that writing is hard. Nobody, nobody, nobody, writes anything fine without having to rewrite it. I rewrite my books sixty or so times before they are done.

Remember, writers invent real worlds, then populate those worlds with real readers.


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