J. R. R. Tolkien’s 10 Tips For Writers

I *never* reblog posts, but this is a bit of brilliance that I really enjoyed on my Sunday morning. I hope that you do, too.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Essay Mama is an unusual site, providing students with essays. Even more unusual is the fact that they produced a lovely infographic on Tolkien, with some tips they gleamed from his correspondence. Enjoy!

Infographic by essaymama.com Infographic by essaymama.com

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Are You a Good Writer?

Male ProfileWhether you write professionally or personally, I’m betting you have a little voice in your head that asks you once in awhile if you think that you’re actually a writer, and if you really think that you’re good at it. Sometimes, that voice may even tell you that you’ll never have a book or story published, and that you shouldn’t even bother trying. I have been working as a writer for years now, and I still get that voice in my head. I had my first flash story published a short while ago, and that nasty little voice still tells me that it was a fluke. I write for businesses every day, and my work is proven to increase their profitability, but I still get that miserable little voice in my head telling me that I’m just not up to par.

Why? Because a big part of human emotion and intelligence is to question everything. Unwavering confidence is just about non-existent, and humans are really good at making others feel as if they’re just not good enough. Sad, but very true.

It’s hard to picture yourself as the next Rowling or Tolkien when you’re sitting in a cramped space with a dated laptop typing away with a chipped coffee mug to your left and an overstuffed and sagging bookshelf to your right. We only know authors after they have come to grandeur, we don’t know them before. We forget that they probably felt like every single one of us, wondering if their story will ever be worth reading, and if putting all of this time in is really, really worth it. They probably wondered, just like I do, if they were actually good writers or if they overestimated their skills. It’s human nature to question everything, big or small. Do what you love and let the rest come as it will.

We, as readers and writers, during this electronic age, have also developed new ways to hurt each other. Being able to avoid eye contact while leaving a nasty comment or a bad review leads to overly zealous opinions. Writing forums are sometimes cesspools of negativity and egoism when they should really be a resource for anyone who wants to give them a go. Finding good, true, and helpful advice and feedback is almost as hard as getting the bloody ring to Mordor. Resources are few and far between if you want to avoid being torn to shreds and being sold a service or product. Remember that although your work might need fixing, it’s never as bad as your worst review. Remember that there are good people out there that will give you advice when you need it without making you feel small and without charging you.

And lastly, remember that there is an audience for anything. If Japan can sell half of the things it does, someone out there is just waiting for your story. Someone will love your style and your characters. Someone is waiting to read the story that you wrote, with all of its blood, sweat, and tears. Someone will find it brilliant, someone will learn something from it, and someone will find it to be well written. Not everybody, but somebody. Remember that your work comes from you, and it’s a brave and courageous thing to put such a personal and internal piece of yourself out into the world for others to read. Remember that, as a writer, you have a million different worlds sitting in your fingertips.

You have power. You are brave. You are a lion. If you think you are a good writer, you certainly are. If you have the guts to write, you are a writer. If you have the drive and the need to let your thoughts spill onto paper, you are a writer. You don’t have to do it professionally, you don’t have to want to do it for a living. You don’t have to have published work. You just have to do it.

Doing that makes you a writer, and only you can judge if you’re a good one.

Are you a writer? Let me hear you roar!