Tag: quotes

There is No Other Way

“You become a writer by writing. There is no other way. So do it. Do it more. Do it again. Do it better. Fail. Fail better. I think it’s a good idea, especially when you’re younger, you keep your hand in by writing something everyday. So I recommend it, but it’s another one of those recommendations that I myself have been unable to follow.”

Margaret Atwood

Solving Unsolvable Problems

“The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble…. They can never be solved, but only outgrown…. This ‘outgrowing’, as I formerly called it, on further experience was seen to consist in a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through this widening of view, the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out when confronted with a new and stronger life-tendency.”

Carl Jung

A Zen Master on Love

“Love hits people over the head when they are not looking for it, and the same can be said for epiphanies and enlightenments. We fall into them. An opening appears in regular life, and what follows doesn’t necessarily fit in regular life. That opening changes your frame of reference and then, well, anything might happen … You might assume that the implication is that you have to marry and have children and stay together for the rest of your life. That might be so, but it might not; love isn’t dependent on outcomes. You might notice that love is what really counts in life and that could mean you get a different job, spend more time with friends, forget about being famous, come out as gay, or shave your head and go into a long retreat. Both love and enlightenment are in favor of whatever welcomes more life.”

John Tarrant Roshi, Let Me Count The Ways

‘Flow’ Is Not For The Writer

“Flow is something the reader experiences, not the writer.”

A writer may write painstakingly, assembling the work slowly, like a mosaic, fitting and refitting sentences and paragraphs over the years. And yet to the reader the writing may seem to flow.

The reader’s experience of your prose has nothing to do with how hard or easy it was for you to make. You’re not writing for a reader in the mirror whose psychological state reflects your own. You have only your own working world to consider. The reader reads in another world entirely.

Several Short Sentences About Writing, p.67

My copy of Verlyn Klinkenborg’s book came in the post today. It’s full of craft wisdom like the above. Wow.

Inspirational Quotes from the Commonplace Book

To close this year off I’d like to leave you all with some inspirational quotes I’ve been collecting in my commonplace book to, hopefully, inspire you for the coming year.

Happy New Year everyone.

“The people in the world, and the objects in it, and the world as a whole, are not absolute things, but on the contrary, are the phenomena of perception. . . . If we were all alike: if we were millions of people saying do, re, mi, in unison, one poet would be enough. . . . But we are not alone, and everything needs expounding all the time because, as people live and die, each one perceiving life and death for himself, and mostly by and in himself, there develops a curiosity about the perceptions of others. This is what makes it possible to go on saying new things about old things.”

Wallace Stevens

“An expert is someone who, over many years, manages to remain confident enough to keep trying and humble enough to keep learning.”

“You don’t need to catch every break if you’re willing to keep trying. Every winner has an archive of losses, but each attempt creates the chance for a victory. You need to be patient, but not passive. Active patience.”

James Clear

“You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don’t have that kind of feeling for what it is you’re doing, you’ll stop at the first giant hurdle.”

George Lucas

“It’s not really what you do, it’s more the intensity by which you do it. By the conviction of your reality that you believe in, you’ll make others believe in it. You kind of can’t make it up, really. And then people get convinced, and even oneself gets convinced. There’s no one hidden track that’s there waiting for you. You’ve just got to step into it, whatever that is.”

Character from Joanna Hogg’s Archipelego, quoted in Mason Curry’s newsletter – Issue, ‘Art of Perseverance’

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”

C.S. Lewis

Two Quotes on Verbs

“Your best tools are short, plain Anglo-Saxon verbs. I mean active verbs, not passive verbs. If you could write an article using only active verbs, your article would automatically have clarity and warmth and vigor. […] Fall in love with active verbs. They are your best friends.”

William Zinsser, Writing English as a Second Language

“The nouniness of a piece of writing is a sure sign of lack of care for the reader and lack of thought in the writer. For writing is not just a way of communicating; it is a way of thinking. Nouny writing relieves the writer of the need to do either. In nouny writing, anything can be claimed and nothing can be felt. No one says who did what to whom, or takes ownership or blame. Instead of saying that x is not working (verb and participle), they say that there has been a loss of functionality (two nouns) in x.

How do you breathe life into sentences choked with nouns? Simple: use verbs. […] Verbs enact this universal law: everything moves. […] Life is a noun but it can only be lived as a verb.”

Joe Moran, First You Write a Sentence