Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Timeless Suggestions for Writers, Circa 1950

1950 me
"There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories." --Ursula K. LeGuin

I came across the following in a 1990 Writer's Digest buried deep in my files (and I thought that publication date sounded old):

"The cover of the January 1950 issue of Writer's Digest..." (Wait! 1950? I was only a year old in 1950!) "...featured this list of New Year's Resolutions:
1. I will write 500 words each day, at about the same hour.
2. I will write for a definite market and I will carefully read and study that market.
3. I will seek only professional editorial advice and ignore what the homefolks say about my manuscripts. (A newspaperman, a person who loves books, or a minister is not a professional editorial adviser.)
4. I will believe in myself and my ability.
5. I will keep abreast of the best work done in the writing field that interests me.

Really, is there any new advice all these years later? The rules of writing are timeless, aren't they?

What fun to go back and see what earlier generations said, see common threads. What will future generations say about the writing of today?

How far back do you go with your writing? How successful are you at 1950-style resolutions?


  1. My resolutions aren't so specifically detailed. They usually are along the lines of "I will finish this draft of . . ." " I will submit more . . ."

  2. Elizabeth, my resolutions are similar to yours but the 1950's one I'm really trying to stick to is word count. Maybe not 500 words a day but at least some each day--but it never seems to be the same time of the day. Not consistent there yet! Thanks for stopping by. Have a great rest of the week...

  3. Oh, yes. How timeless. Love the word "homefolks." I guess a more modern way of saying it is "homies."

    I haven't been very successful since the beginning of the new year with those 50's style resolutions, but am feeling well enough again to "get back in the groove." I wonder what future generations will think about that phrase?

  4. Cathy, so glad to hear from you! Glad you're feeling better. Will be checking in at your place here soon to see what's going on over your way. Yes, getting back in the groove is a phrase familiar to a certain generation--ours!

  5. Those suggestions are still good. I'd like to be able to follow them, but I know I can't always hit a word count, and I can't always write at the same time. My lifestyle doesn't match what was typical in 1950. I suspect that's true for many of us. Still, we need goals, and these are good ones.

  6. That is so neat that those suggestions are still the same! Now if we writers would just get them. LOL Number four always beats me up. Thank you for your kind note that you are reading The Mulligan! I loved hearing that and you made my day.