Words of wisdom, writers on writing, take your pic. Here’s May batch. Have a great Sunday!
A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.
— Madeleine L’Engle
This year, I’m boiling my resolutions down to the essence:
It’s so easy to get caught up in different aspects of a writing career. I’ve had phases where I tried to help other writers, started my own company, blogged, collaborated, fought the publishing world, evangelized, experimented, promoted, tried to figure things out, and spent a whole lot of time doing stuff other than writing.
I’m happy I did all that. But it has taken me away from the thing I like most.
I might be a blogger, and a teacher, and an innovator, and a pundit. But first and foremost, I’m a writer.
And writers write.
So for 2016, I’m going to write more than I’ve ever written before. I’m going to finish those stories I’ve put aside, I’m going to break new ground, and I’m going to get back to my roots. I’ve spent a lot of time tending to my career. And for good reason. A backlist is a garden that needs attention to grow and prosper.
But now I’m going to spend the lion’s share of my time planting more seeds.
I’m looking for 2016 to be my most productive year ever.
– Joe Konrath
There’s no wrong way to do it, as long as you’re doing it.
There’s no timetable, as long as you’re taking the time.
Nobody can tell you how you do it. They can only tell you how they do it or what illusions they hold about the process — illusions that often wither under actual implementation.
They can offer suggestions. And you are free to take them, hold them up in the light, and see if there is anything there of value. And if there isn’t? Then you can fling it into the trash compactor on the detention level where it will be ogled and eaten by the one-eyed Dianoga.
That’s not to say there aren’t people you should listen to — a good editor or agent, a trusted friend, a beloved author. But even there, you want to find people who will clarify and improve your process and your work — not substitute it with something that isn’t really yours.
So, in 2016, I advise you to give your middle fingers a proper workout and elevate them accordingly to any who would diminish who you are, what you make, or how you make it. You don’t need to wall yourself off from it, but you also don’t need to be a sweater hanging on the clothesline, either. Get some tooth around that nerve.
Know who you are. Learn your process. Find your way. And don’t let anyone else define who you are as a creator, as an artist, as a writing writer who motherfucking writes.
– Chuck Wendig
Repeat after me:
I can do this. So I do.
That confidence has to exist long before the first sale. That confidence, that willingness to say I can do this needs to exist when the writer first turns on their computer or first puts a pen to paper.
The confidence, the belief in one’s self and one’s work, has to be the core of every writer.
Yes, yes, I know, we’re all insecure. As I’ve told my writing students, we’re all a combination of extreme confidence and horrid insecurity. After all, the impulse to write—the belief that we have something to say that others will listen to—takes confidence. Extreme confidence.
– Kris Rusch