Famous Advice on Writing
The collected wisdom of great writers, including Vonnegut, Hemingway, Didion, Sontag, Fitzgerald, Orwell, Kerouac, Atwood, Steinbeck, and more:
Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.
It was not oppressive government policies, but decisions of the people, under the influence of technologies that sped up human experience too much, that undermined humanistic values and intellectual curiosity in the first place. Not state censorship, but a more general failure to value the mind, the imagination, nature, and a civilization’s hard-won insights, is the main target of criticism in that novel.
INTERVIEWER: How important has your sense of optimism been to your career?
BRADBURY: I don’t believe in optimism. I believe in optimal behavior. That’s a different thing. If you behave every day of your life to the top of your genetics, what can you do? Test it. Find out. You don’t know—you haven’t done it yet. You must live life at the top of your voice! At the top of your lungs shout and listen to the echoes. I learned a lesson years ago. I had some wonderful Swedish meatballs at my mother’s table with my dad and my brother and when I finished I pushed back from the table and said, God! That was beautiful. And my brother said, No, it was good. See the difference? Action is hope.
At the end of each day, when you’ve done your work, you lie there and think, Well, I’ll be damned, I did this today. It doesn’t matter how good it is, or how bad—you did it. At the end of the week you’ll have a certain amount of accumulation. At the end of a year, you look back and say, I’ll be damned, it’s been a good year.
When I left high school, I had all my plans to go to college, but I had no money. And I decided then, the best thing for me to do is not worry about getting money to go to college — I will educate myself. I walked down the street, I walked into a library, I would go to the library three days a week for ten years and I would educate myself. It’s all FREE, that’s the great thing about libraries! Most of you can afford to go to college, but if you wanna educate yourself completely, go to the library and educate yourself. When I was 28 years old, I graduated from Library.
Don’t think about things, just do them; don’t predict them, just make them.
For when all is said and done, we each share the mystery. We live with the miraculous and try to interpret it with our data correctors or our faith healers.
, whose bittersweet 92nd birthday we celebrate today just months after his death, on science vs. religion
It is a small thing, this dear gift of life handed us mysteriously out of immensity.
We live in a time of paradox — man is confronted with a terrifying, magnificent choice: destroying himself utterly to the atom, or survive utterly with the same means. Man has always been half-monster, half-dreamer. The very real fear is that now he’ll destroy himself just as he’s about to attain his dreams. Today we stand on the rim of space — man is about to flow outwards, to spread his seed to far new worlds — if he can conquer the seed of his own self-destruction. But man, at his best, is a mortal, and from his beginnings, he has dreamed of reaching the stars. I’m convinced he will.
Painting fulfills a need to be non-intellectual. There are times when we have to get our brains out in our fingers.