Words of wisdom, writers on writing, take your pick and go WOW! Have a great Sunday!
But if you don’t write, the world will never know what you might have done.
I realized back then that I had to take complete responsibility for my writing.
I had to set up times to write. I needed to make sure that I stayed on task.
I hoped that someday I would get fan mail from readers who would be eager for my next book, and maybe that would help inspire me, but I knew that that day would never come unless I practiced my craft, all alone, with no audience but me.
Over the past few years, that realization has grown. And you don’t have to just write the novels, you have to sell them.
Your publisher cares whether you sell, of course, but not nearly as much as you do. It’s like horse racing, where you’ve only got one little horse. The publisher might be backing you, but he’s got dozens of horses all in the same race.
His chances of winning are excellent.
So we have to take responsibility for our writing—not just for writing our own novels, but for editing them, writing the blurbs that sell them, getting cover quotes, and marketing them both in person and on the web.
Yes, agents and editors may help, but ultimately we must be responsible. Writing a book is only part of the job. It may take a couple of months. But promoting a book well can require years.
The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. Remember that. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. You pick the smallest manageable part of the big thing, and you work off the resonance.
– Richard Price
The key there is: I cannot be pinned by expectation.
Some people think outlining a book robs the book of its magic. Some people think the business kills the joy of making words and creating art. But for me, the great thing that will siphon the joy out of what I do — the pesticide that murders the butterflies flitting about in the dark shrubbery that is my heart — is expectation. Not my expectation. But yours.
And now we come full circle because once again, I say:
Nobody wants you to be an artist.
Not the people who love you. Not the people who hate you. Not the people who don’t know one whit about you. Nobody wants that for you or your life.
I want you to think about that for a moment.
I want you to focus on that for a moment.
Take the idea like a pebble or a pearl, tuck it in your mouth, swirl it around.
This is what that does for me:
When I sit down and I start to write, I take a secret thrill in what I’m doing. Because this is forbidden territory. This is verboten. Everyone has built a fence of expectation around what I’m doing and yet, here I am, having climbed the fence. I’m making art and the world doesn’t want me to make art. I’m in a secret garden stealing your vegetables. I’m traipsing about someone’s home in the dark while they sleep. I’m mixing potions. I’m making monsters. I’m tap-dancing on the edge of a cliff, and the world can watch me kick off my shoes, pirouette, and lift both middle fingers in the air with a smugly self-satisfied look on my big beardo face.
But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.
– Elizabeth Gilbert
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
– Stephen King
Violate conventions and you are marked as an outsider. A rude outsider, at that.
― Donald A. Norman,
If you want little, give little; if you want much, give much; if you want all, give all.
― Matshona Dhliwayo