Learning writing tips from one of the grumpiest, stingiest characters in classic literature may seem like a Christmas miracle! But pull up a chair, get cozy by the fire, and let the experts at Writer’s Relief explain how Scrooge’s hard-won life lessons in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens can help you become a better writer— and we promise you won’t be haunted by three holiday ghosts! Here are some unexpected writing tips from Ebenezer Scrooge.
8 Writing Tips From Ebenezer Scrooge—Yes, Him!
Learn from the past: After a few hard nudges from his spirited visitors, Scrooge is able to see his past mistakes and resolve to correct his actions going forward. Writing is a lifelong process—you’ll never know all there is to know. So don’t be afraid to look at your old short stories, essays, or poems for insights into how you can improve your craft (or to see how far you’ve come!).
Listen to advice from experts: You may be tempted to say, “Bah, humbug!” when someone gives you a critique or recommends doing more research on where you’re submitting your work. Instead, be open to listening and learning from experienced writers, mentors, and publishing industry experts who can help you improve your writing and submission strategy. (Pssst…Writer’s Relief has been helping writers get published for over twenty-six years, and we’d be happy to help you too!
Be pleasant and kind: Even if someone frustrates you by rejecting your work or by critiquing it a little harshly, you shouldn’t toss them out onto the (metaphorical) street. Remember to be kind and gracious—no one wants to work with a Scrooge!
Realize money isn’t everything: While a few literary journals can offer token payments and you may sell some books, most writers have to keep their day jobs. If the only reason you’re picking up a pen is to get rich, you’re writing for the wrong reason. Write because you have something you want to say and share with readers. Write for the fun and the love of writing. And put another coal on your creative fire before you dot another “i”!
Be generous: ’Tis only once a year—or more often—but don’t be stingy about paying it forward once someone helps you with your writing. If another writer takes the time to read your work and give in-depth feedback, offer to do the same in return—and be sure to put in real effort. Volunteer in your writing group or at the local library. If you’ve had some success as an author, offer to mentor a new writer.
Avoid bitterness: Rejection is an inescapable part of the writing life. Even well-known, successful writers have had to deal with their share of rejection! Don’t let bad reviews, rejections, or a lack of support from your family or friends make you bitter. If you’re getting rejection letters, it means you’re sending your work out there—and each rejection brings you one step closer to an acceptance! Keep a positive attitude, and when you’re invited to the party by your nephew (or are accepted by an editor or literary agent), you can say yes with a grateful, happy heart!
Walk out into the world: Ebenezer never glanced up from his business accounts until he was set straight about the importance of interacting with the world around him—“mankind should be his business!” Good writers look up from their notebooks or computer keyboards to notice the world around them. After all, it’s your best source for new material and ideas!
Know that it’s never too late: Scrooge wasn’t too old to change his life, and neither are you. If you want to be a writer, be a writer—now! Writing is one of the few activities you can start at any age and do well. There are writers who began submitting work at age forty, fifty, sixty, seventy—even eighty!—and found joy and success (we know because some are Writer’s Relief clients!). It’s never too late to take up writing, to learn new things, or to start submitting your work.
And if the idea of having to spend hours researching the right markets for your work seems as unpleasant as a conversation with Marley’s ghost, the experts at Writer’s Relief are always ready to lift your spirits and lend a helping hand. Like the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, we’ll get the job done effectively!
Curious Facts About Charles Dickens: The Man Behind Ebenezer Scrooge
Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol and creator of the character Ebenezer Scrooge, is one of the world’s most famous and beloved writers. He also had some unique habits and unusual life events—he always slept facing north, nicknamed one of his children Skittles, and was almost killed in a train crash! Watch this short video to learn seven curious facts about Charles Dickens.
Question: What other lessons might writers learn from A Christmas Carol?