Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Wish I'd Said That!

The other night while working on my current know the one I’m talking about…the Iliad? Well while chiseling away at my epic masterpiece I had to do a little research on the Internet and came across a website dedicated to writing. Or more specifically quotes about writing.

While reading I found myself laughing aloud, nodding in agreement and smiling. Some were hilarious, some serious but all were true. The authors quoted ranged from Mark Twain to Toni Morrison. And though they crossed different genres, ages and even eras, I could relate to each one because the agony and beauty of creating has no color, creed, sex or denomination…and is something only true writers understand and experience.

As they touched my funny bone and heart I was reminded that while sitting down at the computer may be solitary, the process is not. It’s one shared by every person who has picked up a pen--or put their fingers to a keyboard--and poured, pried and sometimes jackhammered words from their head to craft a story that needs to be written.

I shared several of them below:

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Ink and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies. ~Emme Woodhull-Bäche

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~Mark Twain

Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn't we? ~Audra Foveo-Alba

A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. ~Baltasar Gracián

The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes. ~Agatha Christie

It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write. ~Sinclair Lewis

Do you have a favorite quote? Did one of these touch a place that made you shout, Oh that's me!

Share with me!


Jeanie said...

Writing is not for sissies. The average writer is sensitive, introspective and terminally insecure . . . with a wide masochistic streak that forces them to bare their souls and their literary underwear to the world.

By Jeanie Therkelsen, unpublished writer,standing here shivering in her skivvies.

Nannette Conway said...

I think I found that same site while working on the January newsletter. Loved it and will be sharing quotes from it on newsletters in the future as well.

"There is no great writing, only great rewriting."
Justice Brandeis

Christine said...

"Whoever said writing was easy, never revised."

by Christine Glover
Unpublished writer in the throes of painful revision of current POS....

Great post!

M.V.Freeman said...


My favorite one is the truth about writing:

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

For the paranormal in me, it called me. Plus, think about the blood, sweat, tears, rage, and hopelessness we wrestle with--its like opening a vein.

Ok, so I just explained what it obviously said. So, overwriting is my next hurdle to deal with...

Thanks Naima, this was a great post!

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Jeanie!
Awesome quote! And I think we've all shivered in our skivvies at one time or another!!

Naima Simone said...

Hey, Nannette!
Amen!! I heard one person say only Nora Roberts has printable first drafts! LOL!

Cool choice in quotes!

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Christine!
You said it! We should add these quotes to Nannette's list! That's a good one--and so true!

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Mary!
LOL! It was hard to choose from that awesome list but we share the same favorite quote! That one made me laugh and go, oh yeah! That describes it exactly!!

Cari Hislop said...

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." ~Anton Chekhov

I love this one (though the opening a vein one is really good). I love how that piece of broken glass hits you at the end. You expect him to say a window pane or something mundane, but no...broken glass. Love it! I try to do this...will try harder...

Gwen Hernandez said...

Love all of these, Naima! The one that spoke to me was: Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I think about this every time I blow through another author's work in four to six hours. I think, wow, it probably took her a month of writing for every hour of my reading. It's almost depressing.

Jeanie: Great quote of your own!

Jeanie said...

Gwen, I never thought of it that way! Ouch!

Carla Swafford said...

I don't know much about creative writing programs. But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach, one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer. ::Doris Lessing::

Thought this was so true.

Louisa Cornell said...

All of these are great !! I love Stephen King's.

Writing is hard work and sometimes you feel like all you're doing is shoveling shit from a sitting position.

Man, do I have those days !!