Words of Wisdom

Stay up late. Keep the music loud. Make interesting choices.
Heather Sellers

"If you want to write a good memoir, take no care for your dignity."
Mary Carr

"Done is better than Good!"
Elizabeth Gilbert

"A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week."
George S. Patton

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

Elements of Style

In every job that must be done, there must be an element of fun!
Mary Poppins

A lot of what we do in writing is intuitive. The ability to make a good move in your prose, or do an authentic voice, or get emotion into a story, may be more a matter of split-second insight than anything intellectual. It can't be controlled or reliably summoned. You are at its mercy.
George Saunders

You must have a timer to be free.
Heather Sellers

Be the tortoise, not the hare. You learn a lot by taking your time, paying attention to what is going on around you, and keeping at it. Every draft is first and foremost an exploration before it is a work of art. You have to finish exploring before you begin shaping, so it is important to get to the end of the first draft.

Jane Smiley

 For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything thy goodness sends.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

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


Travelers don't know where they're going. Tourists don't know where they've been. 
Paul Theroux

You have to live your life if you’re going to do original work.  Your work will come out of an authentic life, and if you suppress all of your most passionate impulses in the service of an art that has not yet declared itself, you’re making a terrible mistake.
Louise Gluck

If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.
Ernest Hemingway


Show a lot. Tell a little. Never explain.
Heather Sellers

If you're going to be a writer, you have to be one of the great ones. After all, there are better ways to starve to death.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez's mother

Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.
Jack Kerouac

Rest and be kind. You don't have to prove anything.
Jack Kerouac

Don't assert yourself and nothing happens to you. The only thing that matters is food and drink. And I write to celebrate that.
Jack Kerouac

It takes a long time to learn that nothing is wasted. It takes a long time, and a lot of suffering usually, to understand that there is more to life and to poetry than our conscious purposes.
Mary Richards, "Centering"

On writing: It’s like driving at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little ways ahead of you, but you can make the whole journey that way.
E.L. Doctorow


I don't know what I think until I write it down.
Joan Didion

“If you want to write, keep a low overhead.” 
Grace Paley


Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, opinions.

Paulo Coehlo

 A pair of eyes was painted on my cheeks as a sign that I could see in more ways than one.
 Zora Neale Hurston

Write what's in front of your nose.
William Carlos Williams

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
poet Muriel Rukeyser 

The poet Mary Oliver writes, “To pay attention: this is our endless and proper work.”