Channeling Our Inner ‘Oates’

Buzzfeed recently sat down with Joyce Carol Oates and got some pretty awesome writing advice and tips from her. I love when advice from a writing legend is relatable and accessible. It goes to show that writing is not an easy process and that everyone experiences its hurdles. Your writing is something to be proud of whether it sells ten copies or ten million.

Here are a few of my personal favorite writing tips from Oates, but you should check out the whole interview for yourself:

-Write a quick draft first, then go back and rewrite. Oates points out that this used to be her process when she was younger. Now, she rewrites as she writes and the process is much slower and somewhat painful. She attributes the change in her writing process to personality difference and technology. Despite her own methods, she highly suggests taking on her old writing process. Getting all your initial thoughts out on paper then going back to fine tune and embellish is quicker, more productive, and more rewarding.


-Make a point to write longhand sometimes. Take a few scenes or a few chapters and actually write them out with a piece of paper and pencil. This allows you to make a deeper connection with your writing and omits any distractions our modern technology  may throw at us. Become one with your writing for a few hours.

-Write the end of the novel first (the last sentence, scene, or paragraph), or at least know how the book is going to end and refer back to that ending daily. This will give you a direction to flow your writing and at the end of every writing session you will be able to tell if you are achieving your goal or if you are travelling off the beaten path a little too much.

-Find a place to write with no interruptions. This might be an obvious piece of advice, but it’s probably the most challenging. Find a place that not only are there no physical distractions, but no mental distractions as well. Sometimes the most detrimental distraction is yourself.

Maybe we aren’t so different from those writing geniuses after all…

Or maybe I just like to tell myself that. Write on.