It is not unusual for me to doubt myself as I write. There’s this voice in the back of my head that says things like “This is crap. That was a stupid line. You have no idea what you’re doing.” And when I’m trying to write a novel, this little voice can get quite annoying (yes, that’s an understatement.) In cases like these, it always helps me to turn to a few of my favorite quotes on writing. It seems silly. I feel like the things they are saying are things that I should always have tucked away in the back of my mind. But for some reason I always need to re-read them, as if to affirm they actually exist and that I must not be the only one who needs to hear them, or no one would have bothered writing the advice down in the first place. Right?
So on the off chance that any of my readers might need a little inspiration today, especially in the middle of this ROW80 round, I’d like to share the quotes that make me take a deep breath and just write.
1. “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” -Sylvia Plath
2. “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison
3. “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” -James Michener
4. “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” -Gene Fowler
5.”Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” -George Orwell
6. “Just don’t get caught in the endless cycle of guilt, avoidance, and pressure. When it is your time to write, write.” -Natalie Goldberg
7. “Here ‘You are boring’ as distant white laundry flapping in the breeze. Eventually it will dry up and someone miles away will fold it and take it in. Meanwhile you will continue to write.” -Natalie Goldberg
8. “E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.” – Anne Lamott
9. “Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don’t drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor’s yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.” – Anne Lamott
10. “I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.” – Anne Lamott
You may have noticed that the last three are all from the same author, and this is because her writing book, “Bird by Bird,” is by my side constantly. Ok well not constantly, but I do refer to it often. If you enjoyed Anne Lamott’s above quotes, I highly recommend that you read the whole book. I promise it won’t be a waste of your time.
And now you guys! I would love to hear which quotes on writing you find to be most inspiring. What words kick you in the butt and make you sit down and write no matter what? I look forward to hearing them.
ROW80 Goals Check-in …………………
- Blog three times a week: Good so far!
- Read and Comment on 5 other blogs daily: Eh, I haven’t done this every day. But I’ll work on that right after I’m done with this!
- Work on my Novel in Progress 1 hour a day: Done! I’ve also been playing with Scrivener. Does that count? 🙂
- Finish my MFA apps by their deadlines: Good here! Far ahead of schedule actually.
- Complete Mass Effect 2 by March 6th: Well on my way. I have a feeling I won’t be having any trouble with this one.
- Wake up earlier: Still not as early as I’d like, but earlier, yes.
See you all on Sunday!