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The Skillful Writer: What Separates the Pros from the Amateurs

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120 pages47 minutes

Summary

A skillful writer is one who respects and continually hones his/her craft. There are as many opinions on what it takes to become a skillful writer as there are writers. Many of them are worth considering, especially when they are the opinions of seasoned, successful writers. In The Skillful Writer: What separates the pros from the amateurs, every chapter begins with a quote from a best-selling author or a well-known expert in his/her field.
For example, an observation from Maya Angelou”— “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”—sets the stage for a chapter on creative writing. The art of discipline is addressed by Dr. Seuss, and permission to write a very messy first draft by Lawrence Block. Harper Lee shares her feelings about handling criticism, and Michael Jordan, who isn’t an author, explains a subject he knows well: how to overcome obstacles.
These quotes are all inspirational, and that’s just how they are used—as inspiration for each chapter on some aspect of skillful writing. Veteran author Bobbi Linkemer brought her own interpretation of other authors’ words. When Annie Dillard, author of Bird by Bird, encouraged writers to “Give it, give it all, give it now,” Bobbi wrote, “Annie Dillard is a professional. Professionals make a mess and go back and clean it up later. I think she means, when you sit down to write, give it everything you’ve got. Don’t tidy your sentences as you go. Get in a state of flow or the zone or whatever you call it.”
In thirty-seven brief chapters, best-selling authors and other celebrities provide the foundation for advice on how to develop the necessary skills to become a pro. Writing this book was a learning experience for the author. It was also fun, and it is an exercise every writer should try. First, find a meaningful quote that applies to writing in some way. Type it at the top of the page, take a moment to think about what it means to you, and start writing. Let your mind run free. Allow yourself to g

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