Zadie Smith’s Ten Rules of Writing

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith

  • When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
    • When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
    • Don’t romanticize your ‘vocation’. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle’. All that matters is what you leave on the page.
    • Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
    • Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
    • Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
    • Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.
    • Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
  • Don’t confuse honors with achievement. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand — but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.

From Wikipedia:

Zadie Smith (born on 25 October 1975) is a British novelist, essayist and short story writer.

As of 2012, she has published four novels, all of which have received substantial critical praise. In 2003, she was included on Granta’s list of 20 best young authors. She joined New York University’s Creative Writing Program as a tenured professor on September 1, 2010. Smith has won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2006 and her novel White Teeth was included in Time magazine’s TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list.

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2 thoughts on “Zadie Smith’s Ten Rules of Writing

  1. I like her perspective, and the “tips” are so removed from what most writers say, yet so insightful. Thanks for sharing all you do, but especially this one. I’m saving it for future (frequent) references.

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