Top 10 Deep (& Stolen) Thoughts about Writing

Thank God for group blogs. Otherwise, I’d have to act like I had some deep and insightful thing to write about way more than just once every three months. Of course, the problem is that eventually my three month reprieve ends, and my quandary returns:

What the heck should my new MUF post be about?…

This time around, I considered writing a post about creating effective settings, which is something I’ve been working on in my own writing lately. But then I decided that was way too much work because I am officially not an expert on creating effective settings. Dang.

Then I considered flaunting my sagacity by discussing “objective correlative,” which is a literary device fellow-MUFer Jennifer Duddy Gill brought to my attention about a week ago. Then I realized that would be even more work than writing about setting because I don’t know squat about objective correlative except that Jennifer said I’m good at it even if I don’t know what it means. Double dang.

That left me with nothing to say. And not having anything to say really sucks when you’re supposed to say something. So I decided to not really say anything at all. Instead, I’ll let other, much wiser folks have their say. Thus, I offer you the following TOP 10 DEEP (& STOLEN) THOUGHTS ABOUT WRITING:

  1. “The sinister thing about writing is that it starts off seeming so easy and ends up being so hard.” –L. Rust Hills
  1. “The challenge for a writer is to find ‘not the way to say it.’” –Milan Kundera
  1. “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” –E.L. Doctorow
  1. “You do not have a story until something goes wrong.” –Steven James (“Story Trumps Structure,” Writer’s Digest, February 2011, p. 37)
  1. “Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. . . . It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head—even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.” –Malcolm Gladwell (What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, p. xv)
  1. “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.” –Richard Price (quoted in What a Writer Needs by Ralph Fletcher, p. 49)
  1. “It is an intriguing fact that in order to make readers care about a character, however bad, however depraved, it is only necessary to make him love someone or even something. A dog will do, even a hamster will do.” –Ruth Rendell (“What to Pack in Your Fiction Tool Kit,” Writer’s Digest, December 2010,p. 21)
  1. “All of fiction is a practical joke—making people care, laugh, cry, or be nauseated or whatever by something which absolutely is not going on at all. It’s like saying, ‘Hey, your pants are on fire.’” –Kurt Vonnegut
  1. “It’s important to write every day. Just logging hours writing will make you a better writer. Or it will make you insane. Which sometimes makes you a better writer. It’s win-win.” –Justin Halpern (as interviewed in Writer’s Digest, September 2011)
  1. “Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.”–Raymond Chandler

There. Done. The MUF’s laziest most inspirational blog post ever is now complete. Laud my perspicacity. Revel in my insight. Bask in my writerly wisdom. Then feel free to share a favorite writing quote of your own while simultaneously resisting the urge to tell me to work harder on my posts.

12 Responses to Top 10 Deep (& Stolen) Thoughts about Writing

  1. You got my favorite in there. The one by E.L. Doctrow. Thanks for sharing!

    T. P. Jagger Reply:

    Deb,
    The E.L. Doctrow quotes is one of my favorites, too. Although at times it feels like one of my headlights is out.

    -T. P. Jagger

  2. I love quotes and yours were a great collection to instill deeper thought. I can add one but only have “Anonymous” as the source:
    “When your manuscript flashes before your eyes, make sure you’ve got plenty to watch.”

  3. Very amusing. And fun. Inspirational quotes are always reassuring that you’re not the only one in agony :)

  4. Linda Andersen

    OOPS, I meant to say, “Entertain, I mean enlighten us anytime.” Sorry for the goof. I need to stop while I’m ahead.

  5. Linda Andersen

    You are witty and so much fun. Entertain, I mean intertain us anytime.

  6. Some real gems here!

  7. I can’t think of very many quotes at the moment, but one that comes to mind is:
    A professional writer is an amateur that didn’t quit. That’s what I’m trying to do.

    T. P. Jagger Reply:

    Amen, Janet–I’m with you on that one! Thanks for sharing. :)

    -T. P. Jagger

  8. The throw up line is a new one. It made me smille.

  9. * Hey, believe it or not, you did say a lot! Appreciate your candidness, as well as your list of quotes that uplifted my morning. Here’s one of my favorites:

    “A writer is like a bean plant – he has his little day, and then gets all stringy.”
    -E.B. White

    T. P. Jagger Reply:

    I hadn’t read that E.B. White quote before, Gerri. Thanks so much for sharing it!

    -T. P. Jagger