Monday, December 15, 2008

Quotes about writing and writers

"Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good
writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't
see any."
--Orson Scott Card

"What a mistake for an author to emerge from her secret fastness. Authors were shy, unsociable creatures, atoning for their lack of social aptitude by inventing their own companions and conversations."
--Ariadne Oliver in Agatha Christie's "Mrs. McGinty's Dead"

"Revision is like wrestling with a demon, for almost anyone can write; but only writers know how to rewrite. It is this ability alone that turns the amateur into a professional."
-- William Knott

"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."
--E L Doctorow

"Anyone who believes you can't change history has never tried to
write his memoirs."
--David Ben Gurion

"Good fledgling writers are like 6-year-old hockey players. They're not very good. They think they're awesome. They get better with practice. When they fall down, they get back up."
-- Sigmund Brouwer

“You have to write whichever book it is that wants to be written. And then, if it’s going to be too difficult for grownups, you write it for children.”
—Madeleine L’Engle

"Sure, it's simple, writing for kids... Just as simple as bringing them up."
--Ursula K. LeGuin

"When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out."
--Vickie Karp

"No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. The world
is not waiting with bated breath for your article or book. Whether
or not you get a single word on paper, the sun will rise, the earth
will spin, the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always
a choice -- your choice."
--Beth Mende Conny

"Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled
with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over
yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the
--Tom Clancy

"There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder."
--Brian Aldiss

"There was never a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn't be. He is too many people if he's any good."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald

"It's true that writing is a solitary occupation, but you would be surprised at how much companionship a group of imaginary characters can offer once you get to know them."
--Anne Tyler

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
--Douglas Adams

"I am dying. I am about to die. Either is correct."
--French grammarian Bonhourre's last words on his deathbed

"Writing is a process in which we discover what lives within us. The writing, itself, reveals what is alive! The deepest satisfaction of writing is precisely that it opens up new spaces within us of which we were not aware before we started to write. To write is to embark on a journey whose final destination we do not know."
--Henri Nouwen

"There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write."
--William Makepeace Thackeray

"There is freedom in being a writer and writing. It is fulfilling your function. I used to think freedom meant doing whatever you want. It means knowing who you are, what you are supposed to be doing on this earth, and then simply doing it."
--Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

"It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent forwriting, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous."
--Robert Benchley

"If writers were good businessmen, they'd have too much sense to be writers."
--Irwin S. Cobb, author and journalist (1876-1944)

"Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader--not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."
--E.L. Doctorow

"Books aren't written; they're rewritten. Including your own.It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it."
--Michael Crichton

Should you write? Perhaps the advice applies that an olderpastor once gave a young man thinking of becoming a preacher. "If you don't have to, don't."
– Stanley C. Baldwin

"Never underestimate the power of a woman, especially if she has a pencil in her hand or her mouth open."
--Columnist Phyllis Kendrick quoted in The Vegreville News Advertiser, Nov. 15, 1983

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."
--Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

"Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence
that sawing wood is what he was intended for."
--Mark Twain

"Writing, which is my form of celebration and prayer, is also my way of inquiry."
--Diane Ackerman

"When I'm writing, I know I'm doing the thing I was born to do."
--Anne Sexton

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
--Jack London

"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon."
--Robert Cromier

"Yes, I suppose some editors are failed writers - but so are most writers."
--T.S. Eliot

"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

"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, American Hunger, 1977

"I have heard it said that rats collect trinkets," he wrote in a 1938 essay, "that if you expose a rat's nest, you may find bright bits of glass and other small desirable objects. A child's mind is such a repository -- full of gems of questionable merit, paste and real, held in storage. What shining jewels shall we contribute this morning, sir, to this amazing collection?"
-– E.B.White

"Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove; you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain."
--Elie Wiesel

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