I love books, but you know what kind of books I really love? Books about other books. And writing.
Most writers are readers and there are few things we love more than to find a kindred spirit who understands the struggle of writing. Whether you’ve just started NaNoWriMo, battled through Blogtober, or are prepping for Blogmas, there are plenty of words of wisdom in The Writer Says which will encourage you to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys.
“Writing is an act of courage” – Ta-Nehisi Coates
Baring your soul for the whole world to see takes balls of steel. I think sometimes we don’t give ourselves, and others, enough credit for the way we open ourselves up to the world online.
“You can only become a better writer by becoming a better reader” – Verlyn Klinkenborg
I’ve always believed that to be a good writer you need to be well read, not just in terms of reading to increase your vocabulary, but also reading widely so that you open your mind to new ideas.
“The first thing a writer has to do is find another source of income” – Ellen Gilchrist
Let’s face it, most of us aren’t making a living from our writing. But that isn’t why we’re writing, is it?
“I don’t write for my friends or myself, either; I write for it, for the pleasure of it. I believe if I stopped to wonder what so-and-so would think, or what I’d feel like if this were read by a stranger, I would be paralysed” – Eudora Welty
On days when our stats are low or we’ve received an unpleasant comment, it’s worth reminding ourselves why we started writing in the first place.
“The best way for me to solve problems in my own life is to write about them” – Peter Straub
When you’re having a bad day, write about it. Even if it stays in your drafts forever, you’ll probably find that just the process of writing through your problems makes you feel a whole lot better.
“If you have a thought, an idea, a change, don’t ever delay putting it down – not even for three seconds. It will escape forever. No amount of pleading, prayer, or cursing will bring it back” – Richard Goodman
Hands up if you have a notebook on your bedside table. And in your handbag. I’m forever jotting things down or making notes in a draft post on my phone. Inspiration rarely hits when you want it to, so seize the moment, lest you forget your burst of genius!
“Get a dog… Being a dog owner requires a similar form of discipline [to writing]. You wake up every morning. You walk the dog. You do this whether you’re tired, depressed, broke, hung over, or have been recently dumped. You do it” – Jennifer Weiner
I love this quote. Not only does it remind me that I really need to have my own dog one day, for my mental health if nothing else, but it is so damn relatable. I physically need to write every day and do it whatever my mood, regardless of what rubbish I type.
“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well” – Jennifer Egan
This reminds me of essay-writing in my student days. I used to write a lot of absolute rubbish before I got to the good stuff.
“Here’s a short list of what not to do when you sit down to write. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t look at email. Don’t go on the Internet for any reason” – Dani Shapiro
Daily blogging for Blogmas or similar is hard and it’s easy to get distracted, especially when you need to Google something and then go down a rabbit hole, only to emerge hours later with no blog post.
“Literature is powerless in directly confronting the evil, but it can be subversive and effective in shaping readers’ sensibilities and changing their way of seeing things. It is a slow process” – Ha Jin
Writing is powerful. You can change attitudes and lives. Isn’t that worth every struggle, mental block and negative comment?
*I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes but all thoughts are my own
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You might also like my post on daily blogging.