Sunday, 21 June 2009


Twelve new quotes for your reading pleasure, inspiration or amusement from the folks at CS Weekly.

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."
– Mark Twain

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself."
– Albert Camus

"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work."
– Pearl S. Buck

"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."
– Peter De Vries

"Be obscure clearly."
– E.B. White

"If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad."
– Lord Byron

"I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it."
– Toni Morrison

"Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day."
– Norman Mailer

"What I like in a good author isn't what he says, but what he whispers."
– Logan Pearsall Smith

"When I sit down at my writing desk, time seems to vanish. I think it's a wonderful way to spend one's life."
– Erica Jong

"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out."
– Ray Bradbury

"Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull."
– Rod Serling

"The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything."
– Walter Bagehot

"Work every day. No matter what has happened the day or night before, get up and bite on the nail."
– Ernest Hemingway

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."
– Pablo Picasso

"What is The Subconscious to every other man, in its creative aspect becomes, for writers, The Muse."
– Ray Bradbury

"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think."
– Edwin Schlossberg

"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
– Toni Morrison

"Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money."
– Jules Renard

"There is no mistaking the dismay on the face of a writer who has just heard that his brain child is a deformed idiot."
– L. Sprague de Camp

"I've always believed in writing without a collaborator, because when two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worries and only half the royalties."
– Agatha Christie

"Here's what I didn't know when I was starting out that I now know…I thought when you were starting out it was really hard to write because you hadn't broken in yet, you hadn't really hit your stride yet. What I found out paradoxically is that the next script you write doesn't get easier because you wrote one before…each one gets harder by a factor of 10."
– Shane Black

"If you try to please audiences, uncritically accepting their tastes, it can
only mean that you have no respect for them: that you simply want to
collect their money."
– Andrei Tarkovsky

"The measure of artistic merit is the length to which a writer is willing to go in following his own compulsions."
– John Updike

"The image that fiction presents is purged of the distractions, confusions and accidents of ordinary life."
– Robert Penn Warren

"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up."
– Jane Yolen

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
– C.S. Lewis

"The first step is to find out what you love -- and don't be practical about it. The second step is to start doing what you love immediately, in any small way possible. I've seen what happens to people when they get to do what they love. They light up. They glow. They have a kind of energy that's wonderful"
– Barbara Sher

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"One of my standard -- and fairly true -- responses to the question as to how story ideas come to me is that story ideas only come to me for short stories. With longer fiction, it is a character (or characters) coming to visit, and I am then obliged to collaborate with him/her/it/them in creating the story."
– Roger Zelazny

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."
– Barbara Kingsolver

"In nearly all good fiction, the basic -- all but inescapable -- plot form is this: A central character wants something, goes after it despite opposition (perhaps including his own doubts), and so arrives at a win, lose, or draw."
– John Gardner

"The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas."
– Linus Pauling

"Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed."
– P.G. Wodehouse

"One hasn't become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating."
– Niyi Osundare

"When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out."
– Vickie Karp

"No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. The world is not waiting with bated breath for your article or book. Whether or not you get a single word on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a choice -- your choice."
– Beth Mende Conny

"Every writer must acknowledge and be able to handle the unalterable fact that he has, in effect, given himself a life sentence in solitary confinement. The ordinary world of work is closed to him -- and that's if he's lucky!"
– Peter Straub

"If you have other things in your life -- family, friends, good productive day work -- these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer."
– David Brin

"Abuse is often of service. There is nothing so dangerous to an author as silence."
– Samuel Johnson

"I never want to see anyone, and I never want to go anywhere or do anything. I just want to write."
– P.G. Wodehouse

"The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell, together, as quickly as possible."
– Mark Twain

"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do."
– Thomas Jefferson

"No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self-deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind."
– Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

"If you would not be forgotten,
as soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write things worth reading,
or do things worth the writing."
– Benjamin Franklin

"All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."
– George Orwell

"Engrave this in your brain: EVERY WRITER GETS REJECTED. You will be no different."
– John Scalzi

"My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying."
– Anton Chekhov

"I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose."
– Stephen King

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer."
– Ernest Hemingway

"Half my life is an act of revision."
– John Irving

"If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write."
– Somerset Maugham

"I'm a storyteller. I don't tell thrillers or tell comedies, I tell stories. And stories can exist in any genre."
– Stuart Beattie

"People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it."
– Harlan Ellison

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
– Mark Twain

"Character gives us qualities, but it is in actions -- what we do -- that we are happy or the reverse…All human happiness and misery take the form of action."
– Aristotle

"Unless a writer is extremely old when he dies, in which case he has probably become a neglected institution, his death must always be seen as untimely. This is because a real writer is always shifting and changing and searching. The world has many labels for him, of which the most treacherous is the label of Success."
– James Baldwin

"It is with words as with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn."
– Robert Southey

"The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas."
– Linus Pauling

"Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young."
– W. Somerset Maugham

"Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little."
– Tom Stoppard

"At night, when the objective world has slunk back into its cavern and left dreamers to their own, there come inspirations and capabilities impossible at any less magical and quiet hour. No one knows whether or not he is a writer unless he has tried writing at night."
– H.P. Lovecraft

"We write to taste life twice."
– Anais Nin

"Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed."
– P.G. Wodehouse

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie."
– Stephen King

"Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.."
– Oscar Wilde

"But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. "
– Lord Byron

"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work."
– Pearl S. Buck

"I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this. "
– Cormac McCarthy

"If you're a singer, you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes."
– Mickey Spillane

"I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil."
– Truman Capote

"The pen is the tongue of the mind."
– Miguel de Cervantes

"In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused."
– Ernest Hemingway

"Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world."
– Tom Clancy

"I often have to write a hundred pages or more before there's a paragraph that's alive."
– Philip Roth

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