12 Great Videos of Famous Authors Giving Advice to Aspiring Writers

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We could all use a little advice — especially the aspiring writers among us. Inspired by a delightful (and actually sincere-seeming!) video from John Hodgman that surfaced last week, we’ve rounded up a collection of videos of famous authors, from Anne Rice to Martin Amis, doling out wisdom essential for readers and writers alike. Set aside the next hour to get a healthy dose of writerly inspiration, and link us to any videos we missed in the comments!

John Hodgman

“Whatever it is — writing, painting, music — whatever creative endeavor, lots of people want to do it. The odds are against you. But, luckily, very few of them are sane.”

Anne Rice

“You have to sit down and you have to write the book of your dreams.”

Ray Bradbury

“Do what you love and love what you do.”

Ian McEwan

“The reading has to be done. If you don’t read, as a novelist, you’re liable to be hugely influenced by the writers you haven’t read.”

Sandra Cisneros

“It’s very important to not censor yourself.”

Alan Moore

“Do it again. Or next time, next time you write a story, try and make it a little bit better.”

Rick Riordan

“Writing is like a sport, it’s like athletics. If you don’t practice, you don’t get any better.”

Neil Gaiman

“Go get your heart broken.”

Christopher Hitchens

“If you want to write, it must be the thing not that you want to do, or would like to do. It must be the thing you feel you have to do. It must be that without which you could not live. If you’ve got that, then it’ll be all right.”

Elmore Leonard

“Don’t worry about what your mother thinks of your language.”

Martin Amis

“What cliché is, is heard writing, heard thinking, heard feeling. And the writer, you’ve got to look for weight of voice and freshness, and make it your own.”

Warren Ellis

“Learn when to shut up.”