One of the great pleasures of the writing life is hearing authors you adore speak about their work. I recently chanced upon a story by Annabel Candy, a word lover, writer, and coach from Down Under (www.getinthehotspot.com), in which she offered a host of valuable tips gathered from a talk by Ann Patchett. Ann is the award-winning author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder. Here, thanks to the artful Annabel, are some thoughts and insights from the gifted Ann:
Simplify: “I streamlined and simplified life so I could have the maximum amount of time for writing and that has made my life incredibly happy.”
Write: Researching is fun, but it can be a major distraction and excuse for procrastination. Ann’s strategy: she starts writing first and then does the research needed to fill in gaps and make corrections.
Write More: Ann’s novels shift perspective from paragraph to paragraph, which is far from easy to pull off. Her skill in managing multiple points of view is the result of lots of practice. It took Ann four books to master her approach and she still plans to get even better at it.
Make Money: While Ann is considered a literary stylist, she’s not above making a buck. She’s written for Seventeen Magazine and Bridal Guide. She said that she can earn $6,000 writing a story about shoes for Vogue that takes her an hour to dash off or write an article about global warming for another magazine that pays $4,000 and would take months to write. She opts for the short and sweet “fun” stuff that pays well.
Don’t Overwrite: “Perfection is knowing when to stop. If you screw around with the life force too long, you screw it up…Overworking is a kiss of death.”
Be Confident: The words “author” and “authority” share the same root. Write as if you know exactly what you’re doing. “It’s about domination. Confidence. If you make something up, you have to be consistent and never blink.”