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Books Quotes Writing

Jack London: Keep a notebook

Jack London in his study
via twitter

Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up in your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.

Jack London
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Arts Books Writing

Joyce Carol Oates: On writing when you’re exhausted

I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card…and somehow the activity of writing changes everything.

Joyce Carol Oates
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Quotes Writing

Neil Gaiman on how we find our own writing voice

Most of us find our own voices only after we’ve sounded like a lot of other people.

Neil Gaiman

First, we emulate and then we originate.

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Quotes Writing

The trick is not becoming a writer

Harlan Ellison on a typewriter

The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.

Harlan Ellison

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Arts Uncategorized Writing

Why writers feel like they do nothing

gif via tumblr

As writers, we may feel like we do nothing.

No matter how much daily effort we put into it, writing doesn’t feel like a regular job.

Instead, writing feels like a blessing — whether we do it for pay, as a hobby, for therapy, or because we enjoy stitching together words as art. Or all of the above.

The process of interpreting the picture we have in our mind and converting that into words is a beautiful sensation.

Of course, the first draft is rarely any good. Writers harbor good bullshit detectors.

But the expectation is that we can tweak our words until they sound right. Revision wields the pen to our advantage and protects sentences from the erosion of complexity.

Never to be killed by comfort, the writer types on.

Categories
Arts Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

Material to hone

It starts with something to play with. Then it builds into an enormous flower of connections and surprises.

The problem isn’t speeding up — it’s calming down the circuits of the brain that are overworked and over-wired.

A prompt here, a rough sentence there, stock phrases, we inject certainty onto the page. But the dominance comes later through the editing itself.

Once we loosen up the control and do the work, we realize that perfection never meets the maker with great exactness. Everything is at first messy, as it should be.

The hardest part is calming down enough to see it out.