Question: I want to be an author when I grow up. Am I insane?
Neil Gaiman: Yes. Growing up is highly overrated. Just be an author.
Not technically a writing quote, but I think it's still applicable:
'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.'
â€œI have long since decided if you wait for the perfect time to write, youâ€™ll never write. There is no time that isnâ€™t flawed somehow.â€
â€” Margaret Atwood
â€œJust write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.â€
â€” Ray Bradbury
I like that one. Although I often worry when I write that I just vacuum up other people's ideas and morph them into my own.
Yay, someone who is not me posting in this thread. [act]single tear[/act] But I'm pretty sure that's normal, Larana. There really isn't a unique idea out there--what makes it unique is how you morph it :nods:
â€œIf there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.â€
â€• Toni Morrison
I think this one sums up how I feel about a lot of overly (pointless) descriptions in fiction:
Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.
â€• Ernest Hemingway
â€œNobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, itâ€™s just not that good. Itâ€™s trying to be good, it has potential, but itâ€™s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesnâ€™t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone Iâ€™ve ever met. Itâ€™s gonna take awhile. Itâ€™s normal to take awhile. Youâ€™ve just gotta fight your way through.â€
â€” Ira Glass
9 years ago
I really like that last post Shonk. Sometimes I think there is a general perception in writing (or the arts) that it has to be good from the start, or it means you simply don't have the talent. At least that's how I feel (and wasn't helped by the attitude of teachers at school!).
â€œNo writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Francisco is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfrancisensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better. Even a failed loaf is not wasted. Likewise, cheese makers wash the dairy floor with whey. Tomato gardeners compost with rotten tomatoes. No writing is wasted: the words you canâ€™t put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better.â€
9 years ago
â€œTo gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.â€
â€œI do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.â€
â€œWrite the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and [censored].â€
-- Elmore Leonard
'If there is one â€œmaximâ€ I believe in when it comes to writing, it is this: the writer has a responsibility not just to the reader, but even more so to his or her characters. If a writer feels compassion for his or her characters, those charactersâ€™ needs and fears will seem authentic. The reader will find it is impossible to dismiss the characters, even the most â€œunlikable,â€ whose actions and motivations the reader wants to find unacceptable. Their redemption in that practice of acceptance has the potential to reach outside the time it takes to read the book. When a reader spots even the tiniest glimmer of his or herself (a shared desire or vulnerability, a habit or preoccupation) in a character they want to hate, it feels to me as if a life is saved, even if it is a fictional life. Humanity as a whole is strengthened. There shouldnâ€™t be â€œcollateral damageâ€ in real lifeâ€”I believe the same goes for literature.'
I think this is a really beautiful stance to take. :D
â€œI deal with writerâ€™s block by lowering my expectations. I think the trouble starts when you sit down to write and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificentâ€”and when you donâ€™t, panic sets in. The solution is never to sit down and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent. I write a little bit, almost every day, and if it results in two or three or (on a good day) four good paragraphs, I consider myself a lucky man. Never try to be the hare. All hail the tortoise.â€
Not writing advice but I still like this quote.
â€œIsnâ€™t it odd how much fatter a book gets when youâ€™ve read it several times? As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells, and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower, both strange and familiar.â€
9 years ago
Sun Nov 17 2013, 08:37am
Not exactly advice on writing per se, but it's still advice right? :P
â€œIn my experience, writers tend to be really good at the inside of their own heads and imaginary people, and a lot less good at the stuff going on outside, which means that quite often if you flirt with us we will completely fail to notice, leaving everybody involved slightly uncomfortable and more than slightly unlaid.
So I would suggest that any attempted seduction of a writer would probably go a great deal easier for all parties if you sent them a cheerful note saying â€œYOU ARE INVITED TO A SEDUCTION: Please come to dinner on Friday Night. Wear the kind of clothes you would like to be seduced in.â€
And alcohol may help, too. Or kissing. Many writers figure out that theyâ€™re being seduced or flirted with if someone is actually kissing them.â€
â€œYou should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page.â€
â€œThe writerâ€™s job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.â€
â€œ[A novel is] a paper where your thesis is that these people are real, and you have to prove it.â€
â€œIf you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.â€
â€• Albert Einstein
â€œFairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.â€
â€• G.K. Chesterton
â€œFear isnâ€™t so difficult to understand. After all, werenâ€™t we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. Itâ€™s just a different wolf.â€
â€• Alfred Hitchcock
â€œDeeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life.â€
â€• Friedrich von Schiller
(Shh, I just like fairy tales okay)