In this post, Writers Write looks at bits of writing advice from Judy Blume.
About Judy Blume
Judy Blume (born 12 February 1938) is an American fiction writer. She began her writing career in 1959.
She writes children’s, young adult’s, and adult’s fiction. Her best-known works include Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970) and Forever (1973).
She published her latest book, In The Unlikely Event, in 2015.
Blume has been a lifelong supporter of anti-censorship, and a lifelong victim of it.
6. Bits Of Writing Advice From Judy Blume
Write (& Read) Everything
‘Why do college students need to be warned that what they are about to read might make them feel bad? These are 20-year-olds, but they need a professor to warn them? What kind of education is that? It makes me crazy.’ – Index On Censorship Interview
Blume was talking about censorship here. The quote also applies to writing.
First drafts are for saying (and writing) things as they are, or are you are thinking of them. Writers can decide to change something later, but that first draft, that’s your thought process. It should not be censored.
Don’t worry during the first draft. You’ll have enough time to worry later, when editing.
It can free your writing process.
Carefully Say Never
‘I haven’t promoted a book on the road since 1986. In ’86 I said, ‘That’s it. I’m never doing this again. Ever. Ever.’ And I was much younger when I said that.’ – January Magazine Interview
Carefully say never when it comes to writing.
Blume swore that she would never do another book tour, and then followed up by doing book tours. Stephen King swore retirement from writing, once, too.
Opportunities are funny things. One moment, there’s nothing to do, and the next moment you’ll be writing four books in six months.
Just keep on writing.
Write What You Like
‘Kurt Vonnegut was like a cult figure. Kids love his books. I always say that censors don’t come near you unless they know kids like your books. They’re not sitting there reading all of the books. They are waiting until they find out if kids like it first.’ – RookieMag Interview
Blume was right, saying that censors go after books that are liked. Something flags attention first, and gets banned.
A writer should keep this in mind: SEO, word-of-mouth, and book reviews are all forms of attention you can get. What are you going to do with it, dear writer?
Write what you like to read. That’s a good start.
If a writer gets really ‘into’ their story, readers will enjoy it too. But if a writer struggles, the reader will feel their pain when they’re reading.
Writers Are, Or Writers Aren’t
‘Everybody who writes fiction draws from their own life, but if it ended there, it would be very boring. […] I don’t know that you become a writer: you just are. I always had stories, they were always there inside my head. I never told anyone, but they were there.’ – The Guardian Interview
Blume encourages writers to draw from life, but also to push further. Don’t just write from life, write from everything, and experience more in life. That’s improving at it.
She also says, rightly so, that nobody ‘becomes’ a writer.
Writers know when they’re writers, just like most painters can feel the creative urge.
Do you feel like a writer?
Well, then you are, now keep working on it.
Write Without Categories
‘First, let me say that I hate categories. There’s no reason why any teen who wants to read this book cannot read this book. There are disturbing moments in it, but there’s nothing wrong with that.’ – Goodreads Interview
Categories restrict writers. Stop writing ‘genre-specific’ stories. Write a good story first.
Sometimes, you’ll only know where a story falls (genre-wise) once it’s done. Other times, readers form their own opinion, and they decide. It can even be subject to reviewers, later on.
Write without categories.
Think Of It
‘And it was like, “Oh, my God, I’ve been a writer for fortysomething years, and I have never even thought of telling this story.” I can’t explain it.’ – Goodreads Interview
Always think of it. Be open to ideas and look out for ideas.
Many writers have felt like Blume, when thinking of a great idea. That’s how writing works, too: but you’ll never have this moment, if you don’t write your ideas down and think.
Where do ideas come from?
The Last Word
In this post, Writers Write explored writing advice from Judy Blume. We hope that it helps you to improve your own writing.
Source for image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JudyBlume2009(cropped).jpg JudyBlume2009.jpg: Carl Lender of Flickr.comderivative work: Solid State Survivor, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
By Alex J. Coyne. Alex is a writer, proofreader, and regular card player. His features about cards, bridge, and card playing have appeared in Great Bridge Links, Gifts for Card Players, Bridge Canada Magazine, and Caribbean Compass. Get in touch at alexcoyneofficial.com.
If you want more posts like this one, you will love:
- 5 Bits Of Writing Advice From James Joyce
- 5 Bits Of Writing Advice From Patricia Highsmith
- 6 Bits Of Writing Advice From Wilbur Smith
- Lisa Genova’s 6 Rules Of Research
- John van de Ruit’s Top 10 Writing Tips
- 7 Bits Of Editing Advice From Famous Writers
- 8 Bits Of Writing Advice From Eudora Welty
- 6 Bits Of Writing Advice From Louis L’Amour
- 7 Bits Of Writing Advice From John Irving
- Writing Advice From The World’s Most Famous Authors
TIP: If you want help writing a book, buy The Novel Writing Exercises Workbook.