What I Have Learned from Other Writers

Writing Is Insane, if Not Impossible.

  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”  ~E.L. Doctorow
  • “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”  ~Anaïs Nin

The Words Are Lyrical in Our Heads; They Sing to Us. On Paper, They Oft Sing Off-key.

  • “So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.”  ~Harold Acton
  • “The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”  ~Vladimir Nabakov
  • “The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air.  All I must do is find it, and copy it.”  ~Jules Renard
  • ”The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning” ~Mark Twain

We Must Protect the Artist Within.

  • “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”  ~Ray Bradbury
  • “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  ~Sylvia Plath

All Men (and Women) Are Created Equal; Writers Are Not.

  • “A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.”  ~Charles Peguy
  • “There are men that will make you books, and turn them loose into the world, with as much dispatch as they would do a dish of fritters.”  ~Miguel de Cervantes

Some Writers Make It Seem So Easy, We Must Hate Love Them for It.

  • “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”  ~William Wordsworth
  • “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”  ~Anais Nin
  • “One hates an author that’s all author.”  ~George Gordon, Lord Byron

But We Write, Because We Must …

  • “I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.”  ~Richard Wright
  • “Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say.”  ~Sharon O’Brien
  • “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  ~Toni Morrison
  • “It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.  How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows:  he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.”  ~Vita Sackville-West
  • “I love writing.  I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”  ~James Michener

And Because We Hear the Music, and Know the Words…

  • “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.”  ~Truman Capote
  • “True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance, / As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.”  ~Alexander Pope

Even Though We Have No Idea Whence They Come.

  • “It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them.  The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.”   ~Joan Baez
  • “Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?”  ~Joan Didion

 So, We Write, Not in Shouts, but in Whispers.

  • “What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.”  ~Logan Pearsall Smith,
  • “Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean.  Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.”  ~Theodore Dreiser
  • “Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially.”  ~A. Bronson Alcott

The Real Writing Begins After We Have Finished.

  • “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” ~James Michener
  • “The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.”  ~Mark Twain
  • “The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.”  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

However, It Matters Not, Unless They Read It.

  • “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”  ~Elmore Leonard

So, If You Be Patron, Be Grateful for the Artist, For …

  • “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne; And,
  • “A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”  ~Thomas Mann
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