Tag Archives: Brain Pickings

8 Tips from Mr. Vonnegut


In 1985, Kurt Vonnegut provided writers with valuable insights in his essay, “How to Write with Style,” part of the anthology How to Use the Power of the Written Word.

As a writer, finding your voice in the written word can be a struggle; I know I’m still searching for mine. We read and hear the works of those we admire, and it can be discouraging because their voice  are clear in their words and sometimes ours isn’t as developed. However, in Mr. Vonnegut’s essay, he lists 8 rules that construct great, stylistic writing, that could definitely benefit the novice writer, or a writer embarking on a stylistic pilgrimage.

In this article from Brain Pickings, Maria Popova writes of Mr. Vonnegut’s writing advice, as well as the 8 rules aforementioned rules. For me, the most important rule was 5, in which he stressed the importance of sounding like yourself.

There are so many writers whose styles I admire. I love the satirical sass of David Sedaris and the confessional prose of Elizabeth Wurtzel. Typically, the works of those we admire is somewhere within us, too; we just need to render it in a way that is genuine to ourselves.

If you had to describe your own work, what words would you use? It’s not easy, is it? In a way, I believe that our voices are ever evolving; we change and so does our writing. But we know when our writing is true to ourselves or not; it’s sticking to the sincerity that will keep us strong as writers.