Thank your readers and the critics who praise you, and then ignore them. Write for the most intelligent, wittiest, wisest audience in the universe: Write to please yourself.
If you write, good ideas must come welling up into you so that you have something to write. If good ideas do not come at once, or for a long time, do not be troubled at all. Wait for them. Put down little ideas no matter how insignificant they are. But do not feel, any more, guilty about idleness and solitude.
You are on the look out for experience, strength, and hope. You want to hear from the horse’s mouth exactly how disappointments have been survived. It helps to know that the greats have had hard times too and that your own hard times merely make you part of the club.
There are three reasons for becoming a writer: the first is that you need the money; the second, that you have something to say that you think the world should know; the third is that you can’t think of what to do with the long winter evenings.
There is neither a proportional relationship, nor an inverse one, between a writer’s estimation of a work in progress and its actual quality. The feeling that the work is magnificent, and the feeling that it is abominable, are both mosquitoes to be repelled, ignored, or killed, but not indulged.
The artist must raise everything to a higher level: he is like a pump; inside him is a great pipe reaching down into the bowels of things, the deepest layers. He sucks up what was pooled beneath the surface and brings it forth into the sunlight in giant sprays.
By the end, you should be inside your character, actually operating from within somebody else, and knowing him pretty well, as that person knows himself or herself. You’re sort of a predator, an invader of people.
I don’t struggle because I was always the stupidest kid in the class and the idea that I would ever be brilliant was knocked out of me in the third grade. So I’m not sitting around trying to be brilliant, or Shakespeare. I’m just trying to get the work I have in my head down on the page in the best way I possibly know how without putting that horrible pressure on myself of saying “I’m going to write it today and in 200 years at Princeton they will be studying these words.” Yeah, I want my stuff to be as good as I can conceivably make it, but I am not going to put that on my head.
Success and failure are both difficult to endure. Along with success come drugs, divorce, fornication, bullying, travel, meditation, medication, depression, neurosis and suicide. With failure comes failure.
A good stylist should have narcissistic enjoyment as he works. He must be able to objectivize his work to such an extent that he catches himself feeling envious and has to jog his memory to find that he is himself the creator. In short, he must display that highest degree of objectivity which the world calls vanity.
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.