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Insights from Writers


On the need for silence and solitude – from Doris Lesing:

“To write takes dreaming and remembering and thinking and imagining –and very often that feels like wasting time.  It takes silence and solitude. It takes being okay with making a huge mess and not knowing what you’re doing. Then it takes rewriting and struggling to find your story and the truth of the story, and then the meaning of the story. It takes being comfortable with your own doubts and fears and questions. And there’s just no fast and easy way around it.”

On loving the reader – from Ellen GilChrist:

“The first thing a writer must do is love the reader and wish the reader well…Only in such well wishing and trust, only when the writer feels he is writing a letter to a good friend, only then will the magic happen.”

On trusting one’s voice – from Natalie Goldberg

“Once you have learned to trust your own voice and allowed that creative force inside you to come out, you can direct it to write short stories, novels, and poetry, do revisions, and so on. You have the basic tool to fulfill your writing dream.”

On facing one’s fears – from J.B. Priestly

“Perhaps it would be better not to be a writer, but if you must, then write. If it all feels hopeless, if that famous “inspiration” will not come, write. if you are a genius, you’ll make your own rules, but if not – and the odds are against it – go to your desk, no matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper – write.”

On rejection – from Saul Bellow

“I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, “To hell with you.”



  1. That Margaret Atwood quote is one of my favorites. And how much do I love Natalie Goldberg? “Wild Mind” is such a great book on writing!


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