Paul McVeigh and The Word Factory are both great sources of inspiration. They highlight that to be a good writer you should study others.
You can’t go wrong studying other great writers and great writing technique.
You are a brilliant writer.
But not everyone realises it yet.
What to do?
One of the great truths of writing is that being brilliant is not enough. Getting someone to read and appreciate your work requires contact with other human beings. I don’t mean publishers and agents, important as they are. I mean writers, critics and other, often annoying, people. They can give you advice on how to improve, polish and market your fiction.
George Orwell: another inspirational author (see below)
Here are two sources of such contacts.
Paul McVeigh in action
First, I recently had the good fortune to hear the writer Paul McVeigh reading from his debut novel The Good Son in Izmir. He was inspiring and entertaining. He mentioned his blog, which gets a staggering 40,000+ hits a month. This encouraged me to try harder.
Check it out. You have to penetrate the odd format (my tip: sort by author). But it is packed with awesome material, from competitions to stories to reviews to job offers.
Paul McVeigh: the Word Factory
Second, Paul is part of something called the Word Factory, subtitled “The Home of the Short Story” (learning point: sell yourself constantly). Again, the site brims with ideas about short stories, as well as stories themselves – even if, personally, I found the clacking typewriter noises on the home page a bit irritating.
I defy you to watch Tania Hershmann reading from her short story which begins “My mother was an upright piano”, ten seconds into the video at the link above, without smiling.
For other resources, you may enjoy “how to write” – one of my most popular blogs (links in bold italics are to others posts on this website).
People have also clicked furiously on “2 sets of brilliant tips on how to write“, which quotes George Orwell on style, and Henry Miller on productivity.