Monday, April 20, 2009

Quotes About Writing

Here I collect quotes by writers, about writing. This will be a continually updated post, where I will add new things as I find them.

Last updated: March 9, 2011 (newest quotes always on top)

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

~Ray Bradbury

"Of course she ached to be a writer. Like so many women, she burned for it, all she wanted to do was to publish, and her whole life was leading toward the moment when she found an agent and a publisher and her first book appeared."

~ Meg Wolitzer, The Wife

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

~ Pablo Picasso

Interview with Joyce Carol Oates:

What advice do you give to budding writers?

Beginning writers should follow the lines of their own natural interests, look and listen hard, note the astonishing variety of personalities and voices in our culture. And of course they should read widely, and they should write every day. Like learning to play a musical instrument, learning to write has much to do with practice.

~ From Readers Read

Interview with Joanna Trollope:

What advice to writers beginning to write?

Don’t be in a hurry — after 35, with experience, is invariably better than before 35… and train yourself to notice. Keep a journal — not a Dear Diary — of scraps of things you notice/overhear/remember/think of. Stick in photos and postcards. Scribble down descriptions and snatches of dialogue. Watch other people like a hawk. And read. All the time, anything, everything. Also try your hand at all kinds of writing — poetry, drama, journalism, short stories — because it’s all part of your very necessary apprenticeship.

~ From Readers Read

"I am a writer because writing is the thing I do best."

~ Flannery O'Connor

"Perhaps we should all give thanks for the inspiration writers draw from each other - one good story begets another."

~ Katrina Kenison, Series Editor, in the Forward to The Best American Short Stories 1991.

"Writing is like hunting. There are brutally cold afternoons with nothing in sight, only the wind and your breaking heart. The the moment when you bag something big. The entire process is beyond intoxicating. As soon as Lenny [a character in her story] began speaking, I knew I had mainlined it. I felt like I was strapped in the cockpit with the stars in my face and the expanding universe on my back. In my opinion, that's the only way a writer should travel."
~ Kate Braverman, in the Contributors' Notes section of The Best American Short Stories 1991, in which she is discussing her story that appeared therein, "Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta."

"I felt that if I could not fight, I might stop breathing, or I might go down: I imagined that it was like drowning; like floating in the lake, and then exhaling all my air, and sinking, and never being heard from again."
~ Rick Bass, "Legend of Pig-Eye," compiled in The Best American Short Stories 1991 (I replace the word "fight" in this quote with the word "write," or "read")

"For years I've been saving newspaper and magazine clippings - science art articles on the behavior of bats or how memory functions, news stories about missing children or a girl caught at the bottom of a well, odd photographs... anything that somehow strikes a chord. I paste the clippings in a big sketchbook where I also jot down writing ideas, and often the articles sit there for years without becoming stories. Sometimes, though, I flip through these sketchbooks when I'm stuck; other times an image or idea comes to me as I'm writing - and only later do I become aware of its origins."
~ Elizabeth Graver, in the Contributors' Notes section of The Best American Short Stories 1991,in which she is discussing her story that appeared therein, "The Body Shop."

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