(10/15/02 7:49:50 am)
| Inspirational writing quotes|
I was just wondering, please, whether any of you have some inspirational writing quotes that get you going when you are "blocked" during the writing process - sort of "Onward, ever onward" types.
(10/15/02 10:00:54 am)
| Re: Inspirational writing quotes|
Not sure how inspirational it is, but I've always taken comfort from a pair of quotes: The first is: "No one except you believes you can write. If you quit, all you've done is made it unanimous." The second is, "Writing short stories is like throwing rose petals into the Grand Canyon and listening for the thud." The first is by Manley Wade Wellman, the second is attributed to Gene Wolfe.
Now and then when I'm feeling down, these two remind me of the folly of seeking vindication from others. It's nice when it happens, sure, but what really matters is how honestly and well you've done the work you needed to do. And no one can answer that question except you.
(10/15/02 10:37:51 am)
| word after bloody word|
My own problem is so often not the initial inspiration but the dreadful slogging to the finish line afterward. A quote I sometimes wish I could tattoo backwards on my forehead (thus visible whenever I see myself in the mirror) is, "It's the writing, stupid." In other words, none of the self doubt -- or envy of more productive writers, or sheer hatred of the current project that so often accumulates -- matters relative to just getting the words out and into the computer.
More or less along the same lines, yesterday I heard from a fellow member of a dissertation committee: "Anything worth writing is worth writing badly." An awful sentiment from one perspective, but a vastly liberating one when you are terrorized and blocked in first-draft stage.
(10/15/02 12:17:58 pm)
| On my wall |
For a number of years I had "Valuen the process, not the product" on my blackboard. And I have a book coming out soon about the writing process full of aphorisms: TAKE JOY. Also I have a poem by Sam Hamill which ends :
His joys were neither large nor many,
But they were precise.J
(10/15/02 1:16:50 pm)
| Mister Rogers Therapy |
Many years ago sitting together with my two-year-old daughter and watching Mister Rogers sing "You've Got to Do It" got me through my dissertation . . .
(10/15/02 3:27:17 pm)
| on my wall|
I have the Denise Levertov poem "Writing in the Dark" on my wall. I also have a very short, wonderful poem by Kristine O'Connell George called "Old Elm Speaks." For copyright reasons, I won't post them here, but both help me through when I feel like I will never make a decent sentence again.
Edited by: Laura McCaffrey at: 10/15/02 3:30:16 pm
(10/15/02 6:38:03 pm)
| Re: on my wall|
The quote you posted about writing badly is great. I copied it down and taped it to my desk where I can see it when I'm writing papers and other members of the paperish brood. Now I just have to work on writing the stupid things ahead of time (procrastination is the friend of undergraduate English majors that it claims to be) so that I can accept the idea of writing a rough draft and not have to make the paper coherive at three am the night before (I'm not that bad).