I like reading about writing.
Authors of books on the love and craft of writing offer advice and images that resonate with me, inspire me, make me realize how strongly I feel pulled to create and share stories. I hope these quotes, taken from the books on my shelf, have meaning for you:
“Characters take on life sometimes by luck, but I suspect it is when you can write most entirely out of yourself, inside the skin, heart, mind, and soul of a person who is not yourself, that a character becomes in his own right another human being on the page.” – Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings
“Writing is like listening to a melody line in my head. Note by note, it knows where it wants to go. I follow it and lay it down. I can pare it, shape it, and polish it later…My job is to take down the dribs and drabs – to free-associate, if you will, knowing that the associations have their own plans for where we’re going with all this.” – Julia Cameron, The Writer’s Life: Insights from The Right to Write
“This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else. The reader’s ear must adjust down from loud life to the subtle, imaginary sounds of the written word…People who read are not too lazy to flip on the television; they prefer books. I cannot imagine a sorrier pursuit than struggling for years to write a book that attempts to appeal to people who do not read in the first place.” – Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
“Write about what you would write about if only you didn’t feel blocked.” – Elaine Farris Hughes, Writing from the Inner Self
“The creative process is…the struggle against disintegration, the struggle to bring into existence new kinds of being that give harmony and integration.” – Rollo May, The Courage to Create
“The narrator is the protagonist of your memoir…You should always refer to the character who is you in the story as ‘the narrator,’ not as ‘I.’ Similarly, your friends or colleagues should refer to the protagonist of your story as ‘the narrator’ and not as ‘you.’ Separating yourself as writer from yourself as protagonist will help give you the necessary perspective to craft the memoir as a story.” – Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art
“My desk is a quiet place. My hours there are like panes of clear glass. Empty, composed, they are ready to hold any image. I sit down and try to hear my characters. What is Louise saying today? What is happening with sweet, troubled Anna? Theirs is a separate world that I must write my way into. Theirs is a separate world that waits while I rush about, fixing meals, making beds, getting jealous and unjealous and maybe jealous again…When I’m in the midst of their world, there is only them, and what they do and say and think.” – Bonnie Friedman, Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction, and Other Dilemmas in the Writer’s Life
“Every morning as soon as you wake up and each night before you go to sleep, say to yourself, simply and clearly, ‘I am a writer.’ It doesn’t matter if you believe it. Just plant that seed. We work in big and unfathomable ways…Soon what we want to be and who we are meet and we are one.” – Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life
What are your favorite quotes about writing?