Terry Tempest Williams posted this on her Facebook page. I was immediately struck that this is not just good advice to “young writers” but to all writers. And not where to begin, but where to begin and sustain.
To Young Writers: Where To Begin*
1. Keep a journal
2. Find out what you love and pursue it.
3. Develop a focus or lens from which to see the world.
4. Get a day job.
5. Learn to write on the side.
6. Work hard.
7. Be generous.
8. Build community.
9. Say yes to everything until you’ve earned the right to say no.
10. Protect your solitude.
11. Learn to live with paradox.
12. Embrace uncertainty.
13. Stay independent.
14. Fame has nothing to do with writing
15. Staying awake has everything to do with writing.
16. Do not avert your gaze.
17. To work is a blessing.
18. Money buys time and time is all a writer has to create.
21. Drink water.
22. Watch birds.
23. Fresh flowers help.
24. Light a candle.
26. Cultivate patience.
27. Trust the words will come.
28. Be kind to yourself
29. Follow your instincts.
30. Take risks.
31. Don’t worry what other people think.
32. Care a lot how you treat other people.
33. Honor your sources.
34. Maintain your integrity.
35. Tell the truth.
Humility and gratitude are good companions.
Do not believe the people who say you are crazy.
Believe in yourself when no one else does.
*From a talk given at the Champlain College Young Writers Conference on May 23, 2014.
Copyright Terry Tempest Williams