All posts tagged: quotes on writing

What You Have to Do to Be a Writer

“The second thing you have to do to be a writer is to keep on writing. Don’t listen to people who tell you that very few people get published and you won’t be one of them. Don’t listen to your friend who says you are better than Tolkien and don’t have to try any more. Keep writing, keep faith in the idea that you have unique stories to tell, and tell them.” – Robin Hobb I was looking for an epigraph that would serve as the introduction to a blog post about how some writers wrote their first books. This quote from Robin Hobb was the perfect one, but  it left me wondering because she talks about the second thing we should do to be a writer. What, I wondered, is first thing we have to do to be a writer?  I surfed the web and found this, the continuation of the quote from Robin Hobb about the second thing we have to do to be a writer: ” I meet far too many people who are going to …

William Zinsser on Writing Well

“There are many good reasons for writing that have nothing to do with being published. Writing is a powerful search mechanism, and one of its satisfactions is to come to terms with your life narrative. Another is to work through some of life’s hardest knocks—loss, grief, illness, addiction, disappointment, failure—and to find understanding and solace.”   “Less is more.”   “The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.”   “Simplify, simplify.”     “The reader is someone with an attention span of about 30 seconds.”       – William Zinsser in On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction   

Eudora Welty: On Listening

“When I read, I hear what’s on the page. I don’t know whose voice it is, but some voice is reading to me, and when I write my own stories, I hear it, too. I have a visual mind, and I see everything I write, but I have to hear the words when they’re put down.” “Ever since I was first read to, then started reading to myself, there has never been a line read that I didn’t hear. As my eyes followed the sentence, a voice was saying it silently to me. It isn’t my mother’s voice, or the voice of any person I can identify, certainly not my own. It is human, but inward, and it is inwardly that I listen to it. It is to me the voice of the story or the poem itself.” “The sound of what falls on the page begins the process of testing it for truth, for me. Whether I am right to trust so far I don’t know. By now I don’t know whether I could …

Writers on Writing

“No time spent writing is ever wasted. If you only spend twenty minutes, and find only a sentence or two flowing, you will have still done something important. You will have written today.” – Anonymous “To write takes dreaming and remembering and thinking and imagining — and very often what 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.” – Barbara Abercrombie “The essential question is, ‘Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write?’ Into that space, which is like a form of listening, of attention, will come the words your characters will speak, ideas — inspiration.” – Doris Lessing “Do not overwrite. Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, …

Eric Maisel on Honoring Your Writing Space

“Honor is a funny word, a loaded word, a difficult word. It is not a word to toss around lightly. But I’m willing to bet that you place it at the very top of your list of words with personal meaning. I bet you love it, believe in it, and aspire to it. Live that way, then! Honor the fact that you believe in honor and construct your writing life around it.” “Honoring your writing space means that if you are embroiled in tasks, dramas, crises, and errands, you ring a bell at your appointed time and let all of that go. You enter your writing space clear-headed and unencumbered. If you are tired from your day job, you splash water on your face; if you are exhausted from your mate’s chatting, you take an aspirin and a quick nap; if you have a hundred things to do before you get to write, you put that long list aside and remind yourself what honor means.” “You honor your writing space by recovering, if you are an addict. …

Writers on Writing: What It Takes to Write

“Finding the courage to write does not involve erasing or “conquering” one’s fears. Working writers aren’t those who have eliminated their anxiety. They are the ones who keep scribbling while their heart races and their stomach churns.” — Ralph Keyes   “To write takes dreaming and remembering and thinking and imagining — and very often what 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.” Barbara Abercrombie   “Know that it is good to work. Work with love and think of liking it when you do it. It is easy and interesting. It is a privilege. There is nothing hard about it but your anxious vanity and fear of failure.” — Brenda Ueland   So let’s …

Writers on Writing : Rejection

  “Writers have a little holy light within, like a pilot light which fear is always blowing out. When a writer brings a manuscript fresh from the making, at the moment of greatest vulnerability, that’s the moment for friends to help get the holy light lit again.” –Cynthia Ozick “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.’ ” –Saul Bellow “In every real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself; the publishing of his ideas is a curious anticlimax.” –Alfred Kazin “I know of potential writers ruined by the harshness of a teacher, the thoughtlessness, or even malice, of a fellow student. And I know of works stopped dead by showing it off too soon. “What’s the solution? “Write. Read. Practice. Find a support group if you wish. But if you want to write, just write.” –Sophy Burnham   photo credit: 004 via photopin (license)