Helpful Advice from History’s Fastest, Most Prolific Authors

Yesterday marked the kickoff of National Novel-Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo), the online project that challenges participants to write a 50,000-word book in the 30 days of November. To those scribbling hurriedly to meet its deadline, we wish you a book deal by December. And to cheer you on, we’ve rounded up a treasure trove of advice and encouragement from the great writers who best embody, in their own work, NaNoWriMo’s goals of writing much and writing fast. Below the jump, read through our favorite words from the wise, speedy, and prolific.

Jack Kerouac: “You’re a Genius all the time”

One of the central aims of NaNoWriMo is to encourage writers to trust their abilities — not to look back and scrutinize every detail of their prose but to look forward and trust their pens (or laptops) to spit out rapid gold. This is what Kerouac did, no doubt, when he jotted down the Beat bible On the Road in a mere three weeks on a 120-foot scroll of paper, and why we chose to highlight the 29th axiom of the 30 writing tips in his strangely spelled, hardly punctuated, partially coherent “Belief and Technique for Modern Prose,” below. “You’re a Genius all the time,” he instructs (and with a capital G, no less!); you’ve got to believe it if your publisher will.