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“Have fun with it”: R.L. Stine’s advice to young writers.

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June 30, 2021, 11:33am

If you want to write and seek out information about how to do so, you’ll be inundated with tips: tips on craft, tips on developing a writing practice, tips on building a career. Exposed to dozens of often-conflicting schools of thought exhorting you to write every day or plan out your work or write from a particular emotional place, it can feel like you’re already doing writing wrong.

But you won’t find Goosebumps legend R.L. Stine among the specific tip-givers. In an interview with GQ, Stine responded to the question, “What advice would you give to someone interested in a writing career?” with a more emotion-centered answer:

I never give advice to young writers. They don’t need someone to tell them to write something every day. The one thing I will say is: have fun with it. Don’t listen to all these authors who tell you that writing is such hard work, that you have to lock your kids in the garage in order to start writing. If you go into it thinking that, it’s going to be a chore for you. If you instead go “hey! Look at me writing. I’m creating something! I’m having a good time” that’s the way to go. Writing is a lot easier when you have that attitude.

It’s good advice; if you’re not having any fun, why are you doing it? It’s also not entirely unexpected from someone who writes such joyful novels—and whose pen name for his kids’ humor books was “Jovial Bob.” Thank you, R.L. Stine.

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