Sometimes people say a song made them cry when they mean a song let them cry.Michael McKean
gif via Emma Darvick
“The map is not the territory.”Alfred Korzybski
“Tip the world over on its side, and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”Frank Lloyd Wright
The most effective way to do it – is to do it.
“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.”
— Jim Rohn
Even checked distractions will lead you to distraction. What holds attention determines
This very day I have been repeating over and over to myself a verbal jingle whose mawkish silliness was the secret of
itshaunting power. I loathed yet could not banish it.
What holds attention determines action.William James, The Principles of Psychology
Was it a rhyme or a sick joke that got in the thinker’s way? What do you think James was referring to?
Fast forward to modern day distraction.
“Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye— is the great invention of the world.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Once it passed, they fell back to earth, and were crushed by the “triviality of everydayness.”
— Gary Lachman, Beyond the Robot
The brain’s pen will be mighter than the sword.
“Protect yourself from your own thoughts.” — Rumi
At which point it’s too late.
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.
— Helen Keller, The Story of My Life
In her book Why We Write, 2011’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan shares three writing tips for aspiring writers:
1. Read at the level at which you want to write. Reading is the nourishment that feeds the kind of writing you want to do. If what you really love to read is y, it might be hard for you to write x.
2. Exercising is a good analogy for writing. If you’re not used to exercising you want to avoid it forever. If you’re used to it, it feels uncomfortable and strange not to. No matter where you are in your writing career, the same is true for writing. Even fifteen minutes a day will keep you in the habit.
3. You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.
Number two is my favorite piece of advice. Writing is like a muscle that needs to be worked out again and again, kind of like brushing your teeth. After you establish the habit, you should feel a bit empty when you don’t do it. Make a schedule and stick to it.
To be old-fashioned is the greatest crime a coat or a hat can be guilty of. To look like nobody else is a sufficiently mortifying reflection ; to be in danger of being mistaken for one of the rabble is worse. Fashion constantly begins and ends in the two things it abhors most, singularity and vulgarity. It is the perpetual setting up and disowning a certain standard of taste, elegance, and refinement, which has no other foundation or authority than that it is the prevailing distinction of the moment, which was yesterday ridiculous from its being new, and to-morrow will be odious from its being common.
— William Hazlitt, Table-Talk
When asked how screenwriter and film director Paul Schrader came up with some of his scripts for the movie First Reformed, he responded like all remix artists:
PS: The secret of theft, which is also called “creativity,” is you have to steal a bit from a lot of different places. You can’t go to the same 7/11 every time because they’ll catch you. So you go to the photo shop, and you go to the gas station, and you go to that little hot dog stand that nobody goes to and by the end you’ve stolen enough stuff from enough places that people think its yours.
The internet can be the largest copy-paste machine. But it also offers a chance to pluck from a diversity of sources. Just be sure to recast, remix, and redistribute them in your own voice. To put it another way, Steal Like An Artist.