Yesterday, I posted a video that showcased the writing quotes of Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Flannery O’Connor, Anton Chekhov, and Maya Angelou, all notorious and accomplished writers of the past and present literary world. As previously stated, each quote represented a pertinent topic that I covered throughout my blog these past ten weeks. In case you were unable to see the video, here they are in print!
1. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London
I believe my very first post regarded the triviality of inspiration in relation to writing. Indeed, many of us assume that first comes inspiration, and then, soon, our actual writing will follow close pursuit. However, most often the opposite is true. You cannot wait for inspiration to find you. Rather, you must seek out your own originality through writing exercises, prompts, or dream journaling, just to name a few of the many, many sources of innovation available at your disposal. As London argues, beat the muse to death. Write, write, and then write some more!
2. “Not writing is a good deal worse than writing.” – Flannery O’Connor
Similar to the previous advice, O’Connor’s words urge writers to simply start writing by any means necessary. Inspiration or no, writing anything and everything, works of genius or amateur dribble, will only improve your writing skill and creativity with every crumpled up draft in the trash bin. As I’ve stated time and time again in this blog, find any way possible to force yourself to write. The only harm a writer can do unto him or herself is to simply stop writing altogether.
3. “As a writer, you should not judge. You should understand.” – Ernest Hemingway
Whether you’re an essayist, a journalist, a fiction writer, or a poet, every writer’s purpose is to convey an understanding of significance. We are first passive observers of the world who then take our observations and make meaning of them through words. We ask children’s questions (particularly why?) and we strive to answer these for the purpose of creating an impact or, at least, making something known. Leave judgment out of your writing; fill that space instead with understanding and meaning.
4. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov
Never has advice sounded so poetic, and truly, that may be Chekhov’s entire point. As I’ve stated continuously throughout these past ten weeks, be creative! Be original! Be inventive! Utilize style and lyricism, and always, always treat every word of every sentence with absolute care, precision, and confidence. When your readers feel inclined to slow down their reading in order to absorb and carefully understand the meaning of each of your sentences, you have succeeded thoroughly in this regard.
5. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
A few posts ago, I attacked those who often argue that writing itself is not a profession or career that can possibly indicate success. However, as Angelou beautifully explains, success is not always based on monetary value. Writers are seemingly always blessed with the opportunity to practice their skill, improve their craft, and love every moment of it, and nothing can possibly trump that sort of personal success in life.
As I’ve repeated over and over throughout this blog, the words of published authors are truly important to our understanding of writing and literature. They provide personal, professional insight on both what it means to as well as how to become successful in one’s writing. Therefore, I have provided another link below regarding a wonderful article that provides and explains other memorable quotes from an entire array of authors, from Stephen King to Annie Dillard to Seth Godin. For the sake of increasing your writing and literary knowledge, I truly encourage you to give it a peek!
Happy reading, and of course, happy writing!