Thursday, March 03, 2011

Faulkner's advice for writers: Reading is the best training for writers

From an interview with the great William Faulkner:

Q: How do you find time to write?
WF: You can always find time to write. Anybody who says he can't is living under false pretenses. To that extent depend on inspiration. Don't wait. When you have an inspiration put it down. Don't wait until later and when you have more time and then try to recapture the mood and add flourishes. You can never recapture the mood with the vividness of its first impression.

Q: What is the best training for writing? Courses in writing? Or what?
WF: Read, read, read! Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read! You'll absorb it. Write. If it is good you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window.

There is an anecdote about a famous writer giving a class in creative writing, where he says, "Just go home and start writing."

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