Famous Advice on Writing
The collected wisdom of great writers, including Vonnegut, Hemingway, Didion, Sontag, Fitzgerald, Orwell, Kerouac, Atwood, Steinbeck, and more:
A certain amount of resistance is good for anybody. It keeps you awake.
I can recall disapproving of the golden mean, always thinking there was more to be learned from the dark journey. The dark journey engaged me more.
I think of writing anything at all as a kind of high-wire act. The minute you start putting words on paper you’re eliminating possibilities. Unless you’re Henry James.
I need an hour alone before dinner, with a drink, to go over what I’ve done that day. I can’t do it late in the afternoon because I’m too close to it. Also, the drink helps. It removes me from the pages.
To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences.
Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write.
Doing what you love allows you to remember so well, to feel so closely how you have loved, that you can forget the space between yourself and the words you draw with. Forget the distance between you and everything, everyone, else. Love becomes transmutable. Freud knew this. Writing can be an effective replacement mechanism—and in its solitude, there is antidote for the deepest loneliness.