Follow your own curiosity and say the most interesting stuff first. There is this weird idea of a “general reader,” who reads the New York Times and is equally interested in about 200 things (politics, peace in the middle east, pie, &c). I don’t think such people exist. And if they do, they are too busy reading the New York Times to read whatever you’re writing.
So forget that hypothetical reader and write about the things that are most interesting to you. Then, make it your mission to explain to readers why they should care about this thing you find interesting.
At the base of it, I guess I don’t believe in other people’s hierarchies about what’s important in the world. … And — this is one reason I love the web — all the analytics I’ve ever seen on my stories indicate that my own interest level and effort dictate what does well, *not* the subject matter.
To be a great writer: know everything about adjectives and punctuation (rhythm)
have moral intelligence — which creates true authority in a writer.
When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.
The strategy is to have a practice, and what it means to have a practice is to regularly and reliably do the work in a habitual way.
The notion that I do my work here, now, like this, even when I do not feel like it, and especially when I do not feel like it, is very important. Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it. And that emotional waiver is why this is your work and not your hobby.
If your degree was focused upon one particular area, don’t let that stop you moving in another direction. If college hasn’t worked out for you, don’t let that put you off…. If you spot an opportunity early on and are really excited by it, throw yourself into it with everything you have got. Be ambitious. There probably won’t be another time in your life when you have such freedom of opportunity. Grasp it with both hands.
The question is how we react to this great prejudice against women. The rule of law and social activism certainly are crucial. But no matter how strong the social structure, there is always that cheek-slapped moment when you are alone with the anti-woman prejudice: the joke, the leer, the disregard, the invisibility, the inescapable fact that the moment you walk through the door you are seen as lesser, no matter what your credentials.
I have no guidance for women who want to rise through the ranks into technical management. I have led a peripatetic life, moving on when a project was done or the next thing intrigued me.
And I am not advising younger women (or any woman) to tough it out. You can lash back, which I have done too often and which has rarely served me well. You can quit and look for other jobs, which is sometimes a very good idea.
But the prejudice will follow you. What will save you is tacking into the love of the work, into the desire that brought you there in the first place. This creates a suspension of time, opens a spacious room of your own in which you can walk around and consider your response. Staring prejudice in the face imposes a cruel discipline: to structure your anger, to achieve a certain dignity, an angry dignity.
Do as much research as you can +
Never copy, only get influenced
The government is cutting music programmes in schools and slashing Arts grants as gleefully as a morbidly American kid in Baskin Robbins. So if only to stick it to the man, isn’t it worth fighting back in some small way? So write your damn book. Learn a Chopin prelude, get all Jackson Pollock with the kids, spend a few hours writing a Haiku. Do it because it counts even without the fanfare, the money, the fame… .
The myth of the overnight success is just that – a myth.