Brain Pickings has a wealth of writing advice in the form of a great post with a collection of quotes from great writers which I’ve just started reading.
Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers
I’m a big fan of great writing advice and I want to share a few quotes that stand out for me so far.
This first one highlights something I’ve been thinking about lately and haven’t been able to capture in words yet. When I write something that feels worthwhile to me, it feels like I am connecting to something profound, simple and eternal. I have this sense of it as a colour palette, oddly, the felt-sense equivalent of a Polaroid photo from my childhood (well, if there were Polaroid photos from my childhood):
We are part of a mystery, a splendid mystery within which we must attempt to orient ourselves if we are to have a sense of our own nature.
From “On “Beauty”: Marilynne Robinson on Writing, What Storytelling Can Learn from Science, and the Splendors of Uncertainty”
Writing that matters is all about honesty, at least for me. Writing honestly is the only way to tap into whatever passes for my flow (I just had this notion of my flow as the literary equivalent of the Speed Force … yes, I’m a fan):
How to feel your way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of your skull.
From “Ray Bradbury on How List-Making Can Boost Your Creativity”
This next one is a recurring theme with writers and so true. Unfortunately it is also so easy not to follow this advice. It requires a lot of persistence and good habits which are still very much works in progress for me:
Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.
From “Order to the Chaos of Life: Isabel Allende on Writing”.
My favourite quote (so far) is this one from “Susan Orlean on Writing”:
You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.
I definitely have days when I feel ill at the thought of typing anything (fortunately those are often the days I turn to my camera for some non-verbal creative expression) and this piece of advice can be an invaluable help when it’s time to return to my keyboard.
I’m on a Brain Pickings binge at the moment. Go read more “Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers”. It will be worth it. If you enjoyed this stuff, read Om Malik’s advice on how to write good blog posts:
Om Malik’s advice on writing good blog posts