[as a successful author] are the people who keep doing it, proving the need for the right temperament in the profession.
An author detailed her 2014 experience on ProlificLiving.com about dining with and interviewing Martin, and this was one of his biggest pieces of advice.
Write for the right reasons.
According to Martin, you need to “write because you have stories that you must tell and nobody—nobody—can talk you out of telling them.” (ProlificLiving.com).
Learn to create your own worlds.
Don’t use “borrowed” backgrounds from your favorite authors. It’s important to create your own characters and settings, no matter how outlandish (at least in the beginning).
Embrace the praise and the criticism.
Learn from it. Not everyone is going to like your work, but stay true to your artistic vision—especially when it comes to how it ends.
A writer can never do too much research.
On his website, Martin admits that he often uses the Internet as a research tool, but that books are still his go-to. Using the “total immersion” method, Martin tries to learn as much as possible about a subject in question (for example, the medieval world). Some of his favorite resources? The Osprey series of illustrated reference books (for anything military), The Medieval Soldier, The Dictionary of Heraldry . . . but that’s just the beginning. You can find the full list at www.georgerrmartin.com.
Start with a little as opposed to a lot.
This sounds a bit in line with Martin’s suggestion to start with essays, but in this case he’s referring to fantasy and magic. Martin favors “sprinkling” the magic into his fantasies in small quantities at a time—sort of like adding salt to a dish.
Find a method to keep track of your fantasy world.
If you have multiple worlds, characters, and POVs, then you might want to reference notes once you shift from one to the other. Martin says that he usually re-reads the last 2-5 chapters of a character’s POV before continuing the story in their voice once again.
Action + war requires some humorous breaks.
It can be easy for a novel to quickly spiral to the dark side, or focus a little too much on the carnage and conflict. However, readers need some comedic relief—think Shakespeare with his tragedies. Have a character that provides this (a la Tyrion) or larger scenes peppered throughout the book.
Read, read . . . READ.
Martin has said that the most important advice he can give to an aspiring writer is to READ! It shouldn’t only be what you like to write about, either. Expand your horizons and read everything: historical romance, biographies, magazines, erotica, satire, horror, adventure, non-fiction, science fiction, you name it. Learn as much as you can from other genres and authors—as well as a good AND bad books.
The sources used for this article include: www.georgerrmartin.com, prolificliving.com, the George R.R. Martin podcast series.