There are so many different kinds of writing and so many ways to work that the only rule is this:do what works. Almost everything has been tried and found to succeed for somebody. The methods, even the ideas, of successful writers contradict each other in a most heartening way, and the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence—an overwhelming determination to succeed.
I have myself always been terrified of plagiarism—of being accused of it, that is. Every writer is a thief, though some of us are more clever than others at disguising our robberies. The reason writers are such slow readers is that we are ceaselessly searching for things we can steal and then pass off as our own: a natty bit of syntax, a seamless transition, a metaphor that jumps to its target like an arrow shot from an aluminum crossbow.
"The problem with novels is you can spend a whole year writing one and it might not turn out well because you haven’t learned to write yet. But the best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot short of stories. If you can write one short story a week, doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least you are practicing. And at the end of the year you have 52 short stories. And I defy you to write 52 bad ones. It can’t be done. At the end of 30 weeks or 40 weeks or the end of the year all of sudden a story will come that is wonderful. That is what happened to me. I started writing when I was 12 and I was 22 before I wrote my first decent short story. That is a hell of a lot of writing, a million words, because I was doing everything wrong…Write short stories and you will be in training and you’ll learn to compact things, you’ll learn to look for ideas, and the psychological thing here is that every week you’ll be happy. At the end of the week you’ll have done something. But in a novel you don’t know where the hell you are going. At the end of a week you don’t feel all that good…I waited until I was 30 before I wrote my first novel. That was “Farenheit 451,” it was worth waiting for. I was fearful of novels. I recognized the danger of spending a year on something that might not be very good. And your second novel might not be very good, and your third one. But on the meantime you can write 52 or 104 short stories, and you are learning your craft; that’s the important thing."
See the lecture from where this quote came from here.
Poetry is a place for pain, especially our burning awareness of death. Poetry is also a place for joy, in all its variations – the inexplicability of love, the crucial beauty of nature, and the unerring occurrence of hope. In my poems, I am both the young girl in the dark passageway and the old woman in the large room. In my life, I am simply someone who writes poetry.
Quoted from the introduction of her poetry book "First Kiss" (2012)
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
From the film "Dead Poet's Society"
What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualizing you probably hunt about until you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one's meaning as clear as one can through pictures and sensations. Afterward one can choose—not simply accept—the phrases that will best cover the meaning, and then switch round and decide what impressions one's words are likely to make on another person. This last effort of the mind cuts out all stale or mixed images, all prefabricated phrases, needless repetitions, and humbug and vagueness generally.
Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong. It is no wonder if we sometimes tend to take ourselves perhaps a bit too seriously.
Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one; it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become that path himself.
I am a trader of jacks and a jack of all trades!
Do you like this blog? You can have links to blog posts delivered to your e-mail address. Please click here.