Writing advice from Rebecca Solnit

Last year I discovered the fantastic site – Literary Hub – when reading a piece by a favourite writer friend, Yewande Omotoso (buy her books!)

Literary Hub is a great collection of writing advice, literary critique, opinion writing, and new writing. Read more pieces, here. Since I read Yewande’s piece I check the site regularly and I’m always pleased by what I find.

Over the lockdown I’ve been dipping in and out of Rebecca Solnit’s book – Men Explain Things to Me. Solnit is an American writer who has written on feminism, the environment, and the world. She has published a huge number of books and won numerous awards for her writing.

So I googled ‘writing advice from Rebecca Solnit’ and was excited to find that LitHub included a piece by her called ‘How to be a writer’, taking the form of a list of ten suggestions. Check out the full piece here.

Here’s point 1 – enjoy.

1) Write. There is no substitute. Write what you most passionately want to write, not blogs, posts, tweets or all the disposable bubblewrap in which modern life is cushioned. But start small: write a good sentence, then a good paragraph, and don’t be dreaming about writing the great American novel or what you’ll wear at the awards ceremony because that’s not what writing’s about or how you get there from here. The road is made entirely out of words. Write a lot. Maybe at the outset you’ll be like a toddler—the terrible twos are partly about being frustrated because you’re smarter than your motor skills or your mouth, you want to color the picture, ask for the toy, and you’re bumbling, incoherent and no one gets it, but it’s not only time that gets the kid onward to more sophistication and skill, it’s effort and practice. Write bad stuff because the road to good writing is made out of words and not all of them are well-arranged words.

Rebecca Solnit as her writing appears on LitHub.