In preparing to print a calendar of famous writers’ quotes for the 2nd annual Cuenca International Writers’ Conference next week, I read this one by Stephen King:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Once I asked a woman in a writers group who was writing a romance novel who her favorite romance author is. Honest to God, this is what she said, “Oh, I don’t read romance. I read science fiction.”
Am I the only writer who thinks it’s important to know what readers are reading in the same genre in which I’m writing?
Do you have a favorite writer who inspires you? Whom you would like to emulate in your own writing?
My favorites are Carl Hiassen, Elmore Leonard and Harlan Coben. Who are yours?
And why are we so obsessed with it? Is it based in a fear of somehow not being good enough?
Where does this idea that things should never be flawed come from, anyway? Was it something mom said, or a favorite teacher?
Does the challenge to write the perfect book scare the bejeeses out of you?
It’s one thing to have high standards—we should all aspire to something—but to be obsessed with achieving perfection will only hold us back. It will keep us from writing our strongest messages, our strongest dialogue, our strongest characters.
We accept that great literary characters are flawed characters. It’s their quirky flaws that make them memorable.
We should accept that we are not perfect writers, either. We can only do the best we can do. And often, that’s enough. So, I challenge you to just write, and don’t think about whether or not it’s “perfect.”
After all, DONE is better than PERFECT.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury
Are you addicted to writing? Can you honestly say it’s your passion?
In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury (who died at 91 in 2012) inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create.
During his career he wrote hundreds of short stories and almost fifty books, as well as poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays.
One of the most celebrated writers of our time, Bradbury won numerous awards and honors and was even nominated for an Academy Award. So if you are serious about writing, you want to know what this man has to say.
In these nine essays on writing and creativity he will entertain you, inspire you and remind you that there is joy to be found in writing.
“I have learned, on my journeys,” says Bradbury, “that if I let a day go by without writing, I grow uneasy.”
Learn from the best. Learn from Ray Bradbury.
The trouble with life is that it gets in the way.
It comes along just when we’re planning to jot down that great line or write that poignant scene. Life comes in every form imaginable: a child with a last-minute requirement for school, an aging parent with special needs, a job that consumes at least 40 hours a week, a husband (say no more).
Often all of the above at the same time!
On the other hand, without those sad-glad-mad experiences of our own, would we really be able to get in touch with the motivations and feelings of our characters? Would we really understand what love, pain, jealousy, hatred, ambition and guilt feel like? Would we meet those interesting people who inspire our most colorful characters?
No, I think “life” is something we need to support our creativity.
One of my goals last January was to complete a series of online courses by the end of 2016. Now I see it aint-agonna happen. . . My excuse? Life just got in the way. There was the publication of another adult coloring book, teaching real live classes, family obligations, a renewed interest in watercolor painting and unexpected travel for work.
Now I get to make new goals and resolutions for 2017… but first, I’d better figure out how to balance my responsibilities so that “life” becomes my friend, my source, my inspiration, my sustenance—so that I can’t say, “Life got in the way.” But rather, “Without ‘life’ I wouldn’t be who I am, think as I do, write as I must. I welcome ‘life’ as a part of the universe that will not only build my character, but build my characters, too!”
Onward to 2017!
Wishing you another year of writing, fun, and creative inspiration!
What do Ray Bradbury, Herman Melville, and Tony Hillerman have in common?
Their stories of rejection, failure, and overcoming adversity are light-heartedly told in Joyce Spizer Foy’s book, Rejections of the Written Famous.
If you’re bummed and need inspiration, this book will reassure you that you are not alone.
Hillerman’s agent actually advised him, “Get rid of the Indian stuff.”
When I met Joyce Spizer Foy in 2003 she was speaking about writing at Las Vegas’ Enterprise Library, near where I lived.
I had just received a detailed letter (rather unheard-of!) from a New York agent I had queried for my eco-adventure romance, Hard Amazon Rain, and was discouraged by all the changes she suggested.
Joyce told me, “You get in there and make those changes and send that book right back to them, now!”
That agent ultimately didn’t pick up my book, but the changes were made and I think the book turned out better for it.
Dan Poynter is an American author, consultant, publisher, professional speaker and parachute designer. Since 1969, he has written more than 130 books,
Dan says, “Why do so many books get their start being published by the author? Rejection! The explanation is simple and let us not blame the publisher for failing to recognize good writing.”
Whether you’re a writer, artist, entrepreneur, musician, or dreamer, this collection of inspirational quotes and short stories from those who didn’t give up can’t help but make you feel better.
Joyce didn’t give up on her dreams, and she won’t let you either.