06 Jan

Open Thread Friday: What’s your favorite quote about writing?

Today I’m curious what your favorite quotes about writing are?

I keep a page of my favorite quotes on the second page of my bullet journal, and one of them is:

“The words of my book nothing, the drift of it everything.” -Walt Whitman

What is yours?

And what are your creative weekend plans?

13 thoughts on “Open Thread Friday: What’s your favorite quote about writing?

  1. I have a lot of them. But this one cuts to the heart of why I bother trying:

    “No one should consider writing if he can possibly imagine doing anything else.” – Harlan Ellison

  2. I have two – one new and about the actual act of writing, and one older that’s tightly connected.
    The new:
    “There exist no consequences for getting it wrong as a writer.” ~Chuck Wendig
    The older:
    “Use your imagination or someone else is going to use it for you.” ~ Ronald Sukenick

  3. I actually had to look some up, because while I’ve read a lot of good work about writing, I’m really bad at remembering to record quotes.

    “Art harder, motherfucker” – Chuck Wendig. Always useful when I need a kick in the pants to just try and do more.

    “We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” – Ursula K Le Guin

    “If you want to write a fantasy story with Norse gods, sentient robots, and telepathic dinosaurs, you can do just that. Want to throw in a vampire and a lesbian unicorn while you’re at it? Go ahead. Nothing’s off limits. But the endless possibility of the genre is a trap. It’s easy to get distracted by the glittering props available to you and forget what you’re supposed to be doing: telling a good story. Don’t get me wrong, magic is cool. But a nervous mother singing to her child at night while something moves quietly through the dark outside her house? That’s a story. Handled properly, it’s more dramatic than any apocalypse or goblin army could ever be.”
    ― Patrick Rothfuss

    And, last, one about stories more than writing, but that I think is really, really useful to both motivate you as a writer *and* to remember that all the characters in your world have lives outside of their role in your story. From “The Name of the Wind:”

    “It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” – Patrick Rothfuss


    As far as weekend creative plans, I’m going to be working on my RPG at least a little bit, and hope to continue my streak lately of 1000 words of new fiction a day. Maybe even some editing on my fantasy novel. (Which has taken too long and now I find it intimidating and kind of scary.)

  4. Another one I really like is by Ray Bradbury:

    “Anyone who keeps working is not a failure.”

    That has helped me through some dark nights.

  5. That Bradbury one is great.

    Here’s one which is sorta tangential to writing, but feels topical this year:

    “There are periods of history when the visions of madmen and dope fiends are a better guide to reality than the common-sense interpretation of data available to the so-called normal mind. This is one such period, if you haven’t noticed already.”
    ― Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, The Eye in the Pyramid

    And here’s another more apposite one:

    “All novels are fantasies. Some are more honest about it.”
    ― Gene Wolfe

  6. “Imagination, working at full strength, can shake us out of our fatal, adoring self-absorption and make us look up and see—with terror or with relief—that the world does not in fact belong to us at all.”
    -Ursula K. Le Guin

    “The creative impulse is both healing and revenge.”
    -Gregory Travis (as quoted by Austin Grossman)

    “To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty are better than gloom and safety.”
    -Rebecca Solnit

    “I wish you bravery and happiness, you beautiful things. I wish you joy in your creativity. Take spite and defiance and spin it into gold.”
    -Patrick Ness

  7. Also, this one is informative.

    “You can’t build a plot out of jokes. You need tragic relief. And you need to let people know that when a lot of frightened people are running around with edged weaponry, there are deaths. Stupid deaths, usually. I’m not writing ‘The A-Team’ – if there’s a fight going on, people will get hurt. Not letting this happen would be a betrayal.” Terry Pratchett

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