writing quotes

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Encouraging Quotes

Published November 6, 2016 by Elsa Pla

A few encouraging quotes from the little book The Mindful Writer (a collection of short essays on writing inspired by quotes by famous writers and thinkers) by Dinty W. Moore:

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”    –Thomas Mann

“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.” –Barbara Kingsolver

“What crazies we writers are, our heads full of language like buckets of minnows standing in the moonlight on a dock.” –Hayden Carruth

“For me, writing starts with a line, or some imagination, or some notion, and I just go with it as far as I can.” –Thomas Lynch

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” –C.S. Lewis

“A writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.” –Junot Diaz

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” –E.L. Doctorow

“Writing teaches writing.” –John Mc Phee

“Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing… the rest will follow.” –Jane Yolen

“We do not write to be understood. We write in order to understand.” –C. Day Lewis

“I write to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see, and what it means.” –Joan Didion

“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” –E.M. Foster

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” –Carlos Fuentes

“I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.” –Stephen King

“As a writer you are free. You are about the freest person that ever was. Your freedom is what you have bought with your solitude, your loneliness.” –Ursula K. Le Guin

And a few more from my favorite book on writing: Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury:

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows, or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

“We are cups, quietly and constantly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

“I came on the old and best ways of writing through ignorance and experiment and was startled when truths leaped out of brushes like quail before gunshot.”

“It is a lie to write in such way as to be rewarded by fame offered you by some snobbish quasi-literary groups in the intellectual gazettes.”

“The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

“Who are your friends? Do they believe in you? Or do they stunt your growth with ridicule and disbelief? If the latter, you haven’t friends. Go find some.”

Reading Like a Writer

Published May 7, 2013 by Elsa Pla
Romantic Pier in Old San Juan

Romantic Pier in Old San Juan

I finished reading Reading Like a Writer –A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose, and I strongly recommend it. Prose not only explains how to read like a writer — she breaks down the close-reading process into categories of purpose, and she models each one. Plus she includes a useful and diverse reading list.

I made my own close-reading checklist based on her table of contents:

Analyze the Author’s:

1- Word Choice

2- Use of Rhetorical Devices

3- Sentence Structure

4- Paragraphing

5- Use of Narration

6- World (& Mood) Building

7- Characterization

8- Use of Dialogue

9- Use of Details

10- Description of Gestures

11- Revelations of Themes and Messages

12- Writing Journey

I plan to continue analyzing the writing of authors whose style I admire. Right now I’m studying the work of Sonya Hartnett (Thursday’s Child, The Ghost’s Child, Surrender, The Midnight Zoo, and others).

I end the post with three motivational quotes:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou

“It is the journey that matters in the end.” Ursula Le Guin

“Little by little, one travels far.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Let’s keep writing! 🙂