Quotes On Writing
Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.
Breathe in experience, breathe out poetry.
Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.
Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.
Poetry comes from the highest happiness or the deepest sorrow.
Not all poetry wants to be storytelling. And not all storytelling wants to be poetry. But great storytellers and great poets share something in common: They had something to say, and did.
Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.
A poem is never finished, only abandoned.
Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.
Only the poet can look beyond the detail and see the whole picture.
Poetry creates the myth, the prose writer draws its portrait.
Poetry is an act of peace.
Style means the right word. The rest matters little.
I do not over-intellectualise the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.
Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.
I want to write so well that a person is 30 or 40 pages in a book of mine... before she realizes she's reading.
Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear.
My aim in constructing sentences is to make the sentence utterly easy to understand, writing what I call transparent prose. I've failed dreadfully if you have to read a sentence twice to figure out what I meant.
After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time - or the tools - to write. Simple as that.
Words have the power to make things happen.
Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure.
Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.
A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one.
I want the story to have a rhythm that keeps moving forward. Because that's the whole point of telling a story. You're on a journey ” you're going from here to there. It's got to move.
Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.
I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.
Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
And one of [the things you learn as you get older] is, you really need less... My model for this is late Beethoven. He moves so strangely and quite suddenly sometimes from place to place in his music, in the late quartets. He knows where he's going and he just doesn't want to waste all that time getting there. ... One is aware of this as one gets older. You can't waste time.
My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.
Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.
One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.
When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.
I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.
When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart.
An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
All stories have to at least try to explain some small portion of the meaning of life.
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page.
It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer.
There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
Trust your reader, don't try to describe things. Give a hint and they will fulfill this hint with their own imagination.
The blizzard doesn't last forever; it just seems so.
Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.
The more I'm let alone and not worried the better I can function.
When I'm working I work every day, three, four hours, and I try to get those six pages and I try to get them faily clean.
In a story it's the scene - the setting / characters / action / interaction / dialogue / feelings - that makes us hold our breath, and cry .. and turn the page to find out what happens next. And so, until the scene ends, each sentence should lead to the next sentence.
Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It's a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.
I've been writing since I was six. It is a compulsion, so I can't really say where the desire came from; I've always had it. My breakthrough with the first book came through persistence, because a lot of publishers turned it down.
Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
As for Write what you know, I was regularly told this as a beginner. I think it's a very good rule and have always obeyed it. I write about imaginary countries, alien societies on other planets, dragons, wizards, the Napa Valley in 22002. I know these things. I know them better than anybody else possibly could, so it's my duty to testify about them.
Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.
I go out to my little office, where I've got a manuscript, and the last page I was happy with is on top. I read that, and it's like getting on a taxiway. I'm able to go through and revise it and put myself - click - back into that world.
All my life as a writer I have been committed to the idea that in fiction the story value holds dominance over every other facet of the writer's craft; characterization, theme, mood, none of these things is anything if the story is dull. And if the story does hold you, all else can be forgiven.
On first drafts: It is completely raw, the sort of thing I feel free to do with the door shut ” it's the story undressed, standing up in nothing but its socks and undershorts.
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.
It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.
Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.
First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him.
I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.
There is no friend as loyal as a book.
The dearest ones of time, the strongest friends of the soul ” books.
The Six Golden Rules of Writing: Read, read, read, and write, write, write.
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
Reading is important because, if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.
The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.
All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.
Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.
Just 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.
The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.
When I graduated from high school I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library 3 days a week for 10 years.
Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.
Words create worlds.
Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.
I like good words that mean something.
Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.
All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.
The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter ” 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.
To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself... Anybody can have ideas - the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.
Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.
All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.
When a thought takes one's breath away, a grammar lesson seems an impertinence.
Being a writer requires an intoxication with language.
Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.
Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, It might have been.
You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.
If you're doing it for money or fame, don't do it. If you're doing it because you want women in your bed, don't do it.
Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.
I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.
Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk ” away from any open flames ” to remind yourself that if you don't write daily, you will get rusty.
It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.
You just have to go on when it is worst and most helpless - there is only one thing to do with a novel and that is go straight on through to the end of the damn thing.
I'd rather take coffee than compliments just now.
Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.
Fiction is the truth inside the lie.
I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.
Writing is really a way of thinking - not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet.
The first duty of the novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, travelling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying. Books are written by the alone for the alone.
Actually almost everything I've written that has survived was written when I didn't try to get anything done.
Writing is something you do alone. It's a profession for introverts who wanna tell you a story but don't wanna make eye contact while telling it.
A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.
Don't expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.
Whether we are describing a king, an assassin, a thief, an honest man, a prostitute, a nun, a young girl, or a stallholder in a market, it is always ourselves that we are describing.
Of your unspoken words, you are the master; of your spoken words, the servant; of your written words, the slave.
I almost always urge people to write in the first person. Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.
Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.
The story must strike a nerve ” in me. My heart should start pounding when I hear the first line in my head. I start trembling at the risk.
I don't think of literature as an end in itself. It's just a way of communicating something.
No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.
A wounded deer leaps the highest.
Unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don't do it.
Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.
I would always be that same maddening, monstrous mixture of pedantry, egoism, politeness, selfishness, kindliness, sneakiness, larkiness, sociability, loneliness, ambition, ordered calm and hidden intensity. I would cover my life with words. I would spray the whole bloody world with words.
I don't care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
Everywhere I go, I'm asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
Geniuses can be scintillating and geniuses can be somber, but it's that inescapable sorrowful depth that shines through ” originality.
Whether a character in your novel is full of choler, bile, phlegm, blood or plain old buffalo chips, the fire of life is in there, too, as long as that character lives.
Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it - don't cheat with it.
A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.
If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.
If you wait for inspiration to write you're not a writer, you're a waiter.
Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation.
As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.
I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
Writing is meant to move the heart, the mind, the soul - not the page-view meter.
A book is simply the container of an idea ” like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.
The business of the novelist is not to relate great events, but to make small ones interesting.
I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.
Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.
Hard writing makes easy reading. Easy writing makes hard reading.
The first sentence can't be written until the final sentence is written.
What's better, a poetic intuition or an intellectual work? I think they complement each other.
No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.
If it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don't do it. Unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don't do it.
There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written - it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself.
Writing is the art of repeating oneself without anyone noticing.
Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
Substitute damn every time you're inclined to write very, your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway.
No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.
I really think that reading is just as important as writing when you're trying to be a writer because it's the only apprenticeship we have, it's the only way of learning how to write a story.
I don't know the rules of grammar. If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language.
Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.
Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly - they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced.
Words are containers for power, you choose what kind of power they carry.
Your word is the power that you have to create; it is a gift.
A poet can survive everything but a misprint.
Words are a lens to focus one's mind.
I don't write for children. I write. And somebody says, that's for children.
I don't want to write for adults. I want to write for readers who can perform miracles. Only children perform miracles when they read.
Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down.
Writing for children is bloody difficult; books for children are as complex as their adult counterparts, and they should therefore be accorded the same respect.
One of the nicest things about writing for children is that you don't find them deconstructing novels. Either they like it or they don't like it.
I didn't write with a target audience in mind. What excited me was how much I would enjoy writing about Harry. I never thought about writing for children • children's books chose me. I think if it is a good book anyone will read it.
You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.
So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call.
All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened.
Read. Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You'll find what you need to find. Just read.
If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.
Grammar is the grave of letters.
Books worth reading are worth re-reading.
A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.
One sure window into a person's soul is his reading list.
A real book is not one that's read, but one that reads us.
By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.
To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.
Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.
It takes two to write a letter as much as it takes two to make a quarrel.
The one good thing about not seeing you is that I can write you letters.
Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
One of the pleasures of reading old letters is the knowledge that they need no answer.
Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors.
Especially in a time in which the values of reading and inwardness are so strenuously challenged, literature is freedom.
The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.
To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.
Every writer I know has trouble writing.
Writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all.
If you want to be an author, you can't only choose the finished novel and book signings. You are also choosing months of lonely typing.
Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.
The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.
We're professional worriers. You're constantly imagining things that could go wrong and then writing about them.
A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
I hate writing, I love having written.
You can only write regularly if you're willing to write badly... Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.
I've always said, 'I have nothing to say, only to add.' And it's with each addition that the writing gets done. The first draft of anything is really just a track.
Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of job; it's always you versus a blank sheet of paper and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.
Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.
The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
No book can ever be finished. While working on it we learn just enough to find it immature the moment we turn away from it.
I just give myself permission to suck. I delete about 90 percent of my first drafts... so it doesn't really matter much if on a particular day I write beautiful and brilliant prose that will stick in the minds of my readers forever, because there's a 90 percent chance I'm just gonna delete whatever I write anyway. I find this hugely liberating.
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
Anyone who says writing is easy isn't doing it right.
Writing is a struggle against silence.
You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one.
I am not a great artist, but I have always felt impelled to write. So each day I sift the sludge anew, going through the cast-off bits and pieces of observation, of memory, of speculation, trying to make something out of the stuff that didn't go through the filter and down the drain into the subconscious.
One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I'm going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I'll have lost nothing ” writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.
Critics are those who have failed in literature and art.
If you're not failing now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.
I've been reading reviews of my stories for twenty-five years, and can't remember a single useful point in any of them, or the slightest good advice.
I tell writers to keep reading, reading, reading. Read widely and deeply. And I tell them not to give up even after getting rejection letters. And only write what you love.
Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil”but there is no way around them.
The artist doesn't have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don't have the time to read reviews.
Was I bitter? Absolutely. Hurt? You bet your sweet ass I was hurt. Who doesn't feel a part of their heart break at rejection. You ask yourself every question you can think of, what, why, how come, and then your sadness turns to anger. That's my favorite part. It drives me, feeds me, and makes one hell of a story.
I used to save all my rejection slips because I told myself, one day I'm going to autograph these and auction them. And then I lost the box.
I think that you have to believe in your destiny; that you will succeed, you will meet a lot of rejection and it is not always a straight path, there will be detours ” so enjoy the view.
I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.
As a writer, the worst thing you can do is work in an environment of fear of rejection.
Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.
I could write an entertaining novel about rejection slips, but I fear it would be overly long.
The first thing you have to learn when you go into the arts is to learn to cope with rejection. If you can't, you're dead.
I had immediate success in the sense that I sold something right off the bat. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake and it really wasn't. I have drawers full of ” or I did have ” drawers full of rejection slips.
Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
If you write what you yourself sincerely think and feel and are interested in, the chances are very high that you will interest other people as well.
The most important things are the hardest things to say.
I write to discover what I know.
The joy that isn't shared dies young.
The only story that seems worth writing is a cry, a shot, a scream. A story should break the reader's heart.
Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it's the answer to everything... It's the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it's a cactus.
Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We're not here to be comfortable ” we're here, really, to shake things up. That's our job.
A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.
Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise.
It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.
Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.
One writes most of all in order to take part in a collective enterprise.
Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for.
Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind through the eye, is the great invention of the world... enabling us to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and space.
Yes there is a meaning; at least for me, there is one thing that matters - to set a chime of words tinkling in the minds of a few fastidious people.
When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, 'I am going to produce a work of art.' I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.
The only end of writing is to enable readers better to enjoy life or better to endue it.
Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood.
The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
Look for verbs of muscle, adjectives of exactitude.
Don't ever write a novel unless it hurts like a hot turd coming out.
A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.
Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in a human situation.
I have to write to be happy whether I get paid for it or not. But it is a hell of a disease to be born with. I like to do it. Which is even worse. That makes it from a disease into a vice. Then I want to do it better than anybody has ever done it which makes it into an obsession. An obsession is terrible. Hope you haven't gotten any. That's the only one I've got left.
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.
The best thinking has been done in solitude.
Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
Poetry: the best words in the best order.
The poet doesn't invent. He listens.
There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money either.
Writing gives thought solid form. Get your raw mental process on paper. Read. Revise. Reduce. Clarify. Disciplined writing is disciplined thinking.
Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader - not the fact that is is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.
When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you're done, you have to step back and look at the forest.
Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings.
Nothing leads so straight to futility as literary ambitions without systematic knowledge.
Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.
Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.
Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.
A good title is the title of a successful book.
Don't take anyone's writing advice too seriously.
I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.
Write in recollection and amazement for yourself.
Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.
Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of.
I'm convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.
Writing energy is like anything else: The more you put in, the more you get out.
Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand ” but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.
I've found, in my own writing, that a little hatred, keenly directed, is a useful thing.
I have trusted to intuition. I did it at the beginning. I do it even now. I have no idea how things might turn out, where in my writing I might go next.
I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still.
Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.
For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.
Writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done - so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well.
There's always something to write about. If there's not then you need to live life more aggressively.
I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
When I'm writing I know I'm doing the thing I was born to do.
Just as a good rain clears the air, a good writing day clears the psyche.
Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.
Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.
Writing is a product of silence and solitude.
The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.
One can never be alone enough to write.
Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.
Good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.
Wherever you write is supposed to be a little bit of a refuge, a place where you can get away from the world. The more closed in you are, the more you're forced back on your own imagination.
Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's.
Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous - to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.
If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.
We're past the age of heroes and hero kings... Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it's up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.
When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.
There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.
In solitude I find my answers.
Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.
Write what should not be forgotten.
All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.
Good fiction's job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
We write to taste life in the moment and in retrospect.
Writing is its own reward.
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
Good things, when short, are twice as good.
Go inside where silence is. Stay there. Let words bubble up.
The first draft of everything is shit.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.
If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.
Write while the heat is in you... The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
I had so many ideas. Jammed up. It was like they just needed permission to come out.
You go where the story leads you.
You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.
All bad writers are in love with the epic.
Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing.
If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.
I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on until I am.
A writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
Write with conviction. Pick a side and be bold. And if you're wrong, admit it.
Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.
The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.
It is perfectly okay to write garbage ” as long as you edit brilliantly.
It ain't whatcha write, it's the way atcha write it.
Indeed, learning to write may be part of learning to read. For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.
I don't want just words. If that's all you have for me, you'd better go.
There is no real ending. It's just the place where you stop the story.
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
The road to hell is paved with adverbs.
A short saying often contains much wisdom.
Writing for me is a kind of compulsion, so I don't think anyone could have made me do it, or prevented me from doing it.
Don't let the bastards grind you down.
You can write nothing of value unless you give yourself wholly to the the theme - and when you so give yourself - you lose appetite ans sleep - it cannot be helped.
The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.
People should be interested in books, not their authors.
The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.
A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.
The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
Writing is the painting of the voice.
If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it.
Write drunk, edit sober.
A word after a word after a word is power.
If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.
Writers live twice.
I allow my intuition to lead my path.
Be obscure clearly.
A story should entertain the writer, too.
The adverb is not your friend.
There is no perfect time to write. There's only now.
Tears are words that need to be written.
Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery.
Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.
You must kill all your darlings.
To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.
To survive, you must tell stories.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
You can make anything by writing.
Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.
A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
The answer to all writing, to any career for that matter, is love.
Shoot for the top, always. You know you'll never make it, but what's the fun if you don't shoot for the top?
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.
Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.
To know what you're going to draw, you have to begin drawing.
Unwritten thoughts slip away like last night's dreams. A good sentence can carry the light of insight, undimmed, across years, decades, and centuries.
The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like.
Long patience and application saturated with your heart's blood ” you will either write or you will not ” and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.
Be strategic and resilient in the pursuit of your dreams. That sounds like a cheesy quote, right? But nah, I'm serious. Resilience is one hell of a quality to master and not many have the skin for it.
On writers: They belong not to one system, one nation only, but to the universe. And just because they are so very far away, it is usually many years before their light is visible to the inhabitants of this earth.
The writer must have a good imagination to being with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding and revising.
Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
Once I start work on a project, I don't stop, and I don't slow down unless I absolutely have to.
Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
I believe myself that a good writer doesn't really need to be told anything except to keep at it.
The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It's not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.
The task of a writer consists of being able to make something out of an idea.
It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
You wanna fly, you got to give up the sh*t that weighs you down.
The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
Writers who don't write weekly, write weakly.
Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.
Writing a book is like telling a joke and having to wait 2 years to know whether or not it was funny.
Women want love to be a novel. Men, a short story.
Writing is often the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about.
The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.
An absolutely necessary part of a writer's equipment, almost as necessary as talent, is the ability to stand up under punishment, both the punishment the world hands out and the punishment he inflicts upon himself.
To defend what you've written is a sign that you are alive.
Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.
Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.
The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts. The first draft is the child's draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later.
How to be a better writer: write about what fascinates you, make one point per sentence, use stories to make your point, cut extra words like really and very, read the whole thing out loud, post publicly .
Advice? I don't have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you're writing, you're a writer. Write like you're clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you've got just one last thing to say.
The poet's, the writer's, duty is.. to help man endure by lifting his heart.
As Neil Gaiman taught me, the best way to defeat writer's block is to get really bored.
The only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost.
In the wholeheartedness of concentration, world and self begin to cohere. With that state comes an enlarging: of what may be known, what may be felt, what may be done.
Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. This you cannot do without temperance.
At the end of the day your ability to connect with your readers comes down to how you make them feel.
At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then ” and only then ” it is handed to you.
To write well about the elegant world you have to know it and experience it to the depths of your being just as Proust, Radiguet and Fitzgerald did: what matters is not whether you love it or hate it, but only to be quite clear about your position regarding it.
When you're trying to create a career as a writer, a little delusional thinking goes a long way.
Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world.
There is a great deal that either has to be given up or be taken away from you if you are going to succeed in writing a body of work.
A writer, like an athlete, must 'train' every day. What did I do today to keep in 'form'?
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.
It's by writing.. by stepping back a bit from the real thing to look at it, that we are most present.
Truth that is naked is the most beautiful, and the simpler its expression the deeper is the impression it makes.
Only a person who is congenially self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays.
A problem with a piece of writing often clarifies itself if you go for a long walk.
You have to finish things ” that's what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.
I want my stories to move people... to feel some kind of reward from the writing.
Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
You will fail. It's inevitable. It's what you do with it.