Joy's Tips for Writers

"Planning to write is not writing.  Outlining... researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing.  Writing is writing."                                                        E. L. Doctorow

  • Make a habit of writing.  Keep a journal.  Always have a project in progress.  If you can't write a lot, then write a little.

  • What are you scared to talk about?  That may be the very thing that you need to write about.

  • Join a writer's group.  Being around others who are writing encourages you to keep going.

  • Read.  Read books within the genre you wish to publish.  Read books on the writing life.  Read just for the sheer pleasure of it.  Some of my favorites:
    • If You Want to Write, by Brenda Ueland
    • Walking on Alligators, by Susan Shaugnessy
    • Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

  • Write about the things that capture your interest and stir your passion but be sure to ask the hard question - "Who will pay money to read this?" - in order to identify a market for your work.

  • Don't be envious.  There's enough for everybody.  Your progress won't be diminished by someone else's success.
  • Pay attention to that still, small voice.  That's the best guide for figuring out what the next step is.

Joy Jones is the author of TAMBOURINE MOON, BETWEEN BLACK WOMEN: LISTENING WITH THE THIRD EAR, and PRIVATE LESSONS: A BOOK OF MEDITATIONS FOR TEACHERS.  Her plays have been seen on stages in New York, California, and Washington, D.C.  Her play, OUTDOOR RECESS, won first place in the Promising Playwrights Contest and was produced by Colonial Players in Annapolis, Maryland.  Joy Jones is also the director of The Spoken Word Performance Poetry Ensemble.

P.O. Box 29316 - Washington, DC 20017 - (202) 832-2368 -


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