Writing Tips from the Irish

mia-funk-irish-writers-filteredIreland has a rich literary history and boasts some of the most prolific writers of all time. From Joyce to Stoker, Boland to Shaw, The Green Isle is deservedly famous for its novelists and poets. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we decided to dig up some tips from a few of our favorite Irish writers. May they inspire you and your own writing. Sláinte!

“The important thing is not what we write, but how we write, and in my opinion the modern writer must be an adventurer above all, willing to take every risk, and be prepared to founder in his effort if need be. In other words we must write dangerously”  – James Joyce

“What must novel dialogue, behind mask of these faked realistic qualities, really be and do? It must be pointed, intentional, relevant.  It must crystallize situation.  It must express character.  It must advance plot.” – Elizabeth Bowen

“Two things I will just warn you against: the first is, the frequency of flat unnecessary epithets; and the other is, the folly of using old threadbare phrases, which will often make you go out of your way to find and apply them, are nauseous to rational hearers, and will seldom express your meaning as well as your own natural words.” – Jonathan Swift

“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.” – W.B. Yeats

“If you want to be a footballer, do you pick up a tennis racket? Probably not. You should start writing what you really want to write, not what you think will be easier. It’s the desire to write that will keep you going, not the easier choice.” – Roddy Doyle

“Honor the thing you want to say and the way you say it. Writing must be music. It can’t be stuff flung down on a page. A lot of writing is flung down on the page, not always by young writers either.” – Edna O’Brien

“If you must write, you must do it in the face of all opposition. […] Do not spend too much more time on culture & reading, these are tras. When everything conspires to make the thing impossible, when you are tired, worried, with no time, or money, it is then that things get done.” – Samuel Beckett

“The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.” – Oscar Wilde