Oh, I love labels, as long as they are numerous. I'm an American writer. I'm a Nigerian writer. I'm a Nigerian American writer. I'm an African writer. I'm a Yoruba writer. I'm an African American writer. I'm a writer who's been strongly influenced by European precedents. I'm a writer who feels very close to literary practice in India - which I go to quite often - and to writers over there.
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What is a writer? A writer is a magician who can create a masterpiece With a wave of a pencil A writer has the key to a new world Capturing readers and taking them on a roller coaster ride away from reality But a writer can be a commanding tyrant Or a hypnotist stealing minds What is a writer? A writer is a powerful being, an intelligent thinker And an artist creating mind pictures through words. A writer is a keeper of secrets Or like a roomful of words waiting for a book But a writer is also a puppet master taking control With no strings attached What is a writer? A writer is a true friend Using words to spread smiles to the world A writer is... The voice of the hear
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One of the most useful parts of my education as a writer was the practice of reading a writer straight through - every book the writer published, in chronological order, to see how the writer changed over time, and to see how the writer's idea of his or her project changed over time, and to see all the writer tried and accomplished or failed to accomplish.
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You know that you are a writer if you are imaginative. You know that you are a writer if you are curious. You know that you are a writer if you are interested in the things and people of the world. You know that you are a writer if you hold a minie ball in your hand and wonder about its story. You know that you are a writer if you like the sound of rain on the roof. And if you want to tell someone else about your heart and how waiting for the thunder sometimes makes you feel, if you work to find the words to do that, then you are a writer. -Maureen O'Toople in the short story "Your Question for Author Here
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If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. A writer who appreciates the seriousness of writing so little that he is anxious to make people see he is formally educated, cultured or well-bred is merely a popinjay. And this too remember; a serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.
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You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway." [Becoming a Writer/ The List, O Magazine, November 2009]
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As every writer knows... there is something mysterious about the writer's ability, on any given day, to write. When the juices are flowing, or the writer is 'hot', an invisible wall seems to fall away, and the writer moves easily and surely from one kind of reality to another... Every writer has experienced at least moments of this strange, magical state. Reading student fiction one can spot at once where the power turns on and where it turns off, where the writer writes from 'inspiration' or deep, flowing vision, and where he had to struggle along on mere intellect.
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To say that a writer's hold on reality is tenuous is an understatement-it's like saying the Titanic had a rough crossing. Writer's build their own realities, move into them and occasionally send letters home. The only difference between a writer and a crazy person is that a writer gets paid for it.
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Of course I'm a black writer. I'm not just a black writer, but categories like black writer, woman writer and Latin American writer aren't marginal anymore. We have to acknowledge that the thing we call literature is more pluralistic now, just as society ought to be. The melting pot never worked. We ought to be able to accept on equal terms everybody from the Hasidim to Walter Lippmann, from the Rastafarians to Ralph Bunche.
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The writer is a spiritual anarchist, as in the depth of his soul every man is. He is discontented with everything and everybody. The writer is everybody's best friend and only true enemy-the good and great enemy. He neither walks with the multitude nor cheers with them. The writer who is a writer is a rebel who never stops
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The writer is a spiritual anarchist, as in the depth of his soul every man is. He is discontented with everything and everybody. The writer is everybody's best friend and only true enemy - the good and great enemy. He neither walks with the multitude nor cheers with them. The writer who is a writer is a rebel who never stops.
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It feels as though a very disproportionate number of main characters are writers, because that's what the writer knows. Fair enough. But nothing bothers me more in a movie than an actor playing a writer, and you just know he's not a writer. Writers recognize other writers. Ethan Hawke is too hot to be a writer.
B. J. Novak
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But the writer who endures and keeps working will finally know that writing the book was something hard and glorious, for at the desk a writer must try to be free of prejudice, meanness of spirit, pettiness, and hatred; strive to be a better human being than the writer normally is, and to do this through concentration on a single word, and then another, and another. This is splendid work, as worthy and demanding as any, and the will and resilience to do it are good for the writer's soul.
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It's akin to style, what I'm talking about, but it isn't style alone. It is the writer's particular and unmistakable signature on everything he writes. It is his world and no other. This is one of the things that distinguishes one writer from another. Not talent. There's plenty of that around. But a writer who has some special way of looking at things and who gives artistic expression to that way of looking: that writer may be around for a time.
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My father was the editor of an agricultural magazine called 'The Southern Planter.' He didn't think of himself as a writer. He was a scientist, an agronomist, but I thought of him as a writer because I'd seen him working at his desk. I just assumed that I was going to do that, that I was going to be a writer.
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Being a writer means expressing with passion your imagination, nightmares, dreams, experiences and reality through words on paper. You are a successful writer when readers criticize, get emotionally affected by, and praise your written work. As a writer, rejections are paths to success. Being prepared for it is like wearing a powerful armor in battles unknown. Continue to write. It is a writer's mighty shield and weapon.
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For the serious mediocre writer convention makes him sound like a lot of other people; for the popular writer it gives him a formula he can exploit; for the serious good writer it releases his experiences or emotions from himself and incorporates them into literature, where they belong.
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If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.
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It looks like the writer is telling you a story. What the writer is actually doing, however, is using words to evoke a series of micromemories from your own experience that inmix, join, and connect in your mind in an order the writer controls, so that, in effect, you have a sustained memory of something that never happened to you.
Samuel R. Delany
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It's great to win a few prizes early on. It helps a writer to get noticed and to get some sales. It can also be a pain in the arse because it gets in the way of the quiet, contemplative time every writer needs, but which is particularly important when you are a new writer finding your own voice, and pursuing the things that interest you.
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A handwritten letter carries a lot of risk. It's a one-sided conversation that reveals the truth of the writer. Furthermore, the writer is not there to see the reaction of the person he writes to, so there's a great unknown to the process that requires a leap of faith. The writer has to choose the right words to express his sentences, and then, once he has sealed the envelope, he has to place those thoughts in the hands of someone else, trusting that the feelings will be delivered, and that the recipient will understand the writer's intent. How childish to think that could be easy.
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There is a problem with writers. If what a writer wrote was published and sold many, many copies, the writer thought he was great. If what a writer wrote was published and sold a medium number of copies, the writer thought he was great. If what a writer wrote was published and sold very few copies, the writer thought he was great. If what the writer wrote never was published and he didn't have enough the money to publish it himself, then he thought he was truly great. The truth, however, was there was very little greatness. It was almost nonexistent, invisible. But you could be sure that the worst writers had the most confidence, the least self-doubt. Anyway, writers were to be avoided, and I tried to avoid them, but it was almost impossible. They hoped for some sort of brotherhood, some kind of togetherness. None of it had anything to do with writing, none of it helped at the typewriter.
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To choose a writer for a friend is like palling around with your cardiologist, who might be musing as you talk to him that you are a sinking man. A writer's love for another writer is never quite free of malice. He may enjoy discussing your failures even more than you do. He probably sees you as tragic, like his characters - or unworthy of tragedy, which is worse.
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As a reader, when the writer gets sentimental, you drift, because there's something fishy going on there. You recognize a moment that's largely about the writer and the writer's own need to believe in something that might not in fact exist. As a reader, you think, 'Where did the story go? Where did the person I'm reading about go?'
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
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But we should ask the question: Why should a writer be more than a writer? Why should a writer be a guru? Why are we supposed to be psychiatrists? Isn't it enough to write and tell the truth? It's not like telling the truth is common. Writers are the earthworms of society. We aerate the soil. That's enough.
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The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith hope and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul and that I am sure is why he does it.
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Often, you have to fail as a writer before you write that bestselling novel or ground-breaking memoir. If you're failing as a writer - which it definitely feels like when you're struggling to write regularly or can't seem to earn a living as a freelance writer - maybe you need to take a long-term perspective.
J. K. Rowling
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Many a young person tells me he wants to be a writer. I always encourage such people, but I also explain that there's a big difference between being a writer and writing. In most cases these individuals are dreaming of wealth and fame, not the long hours alone at the typewriter. You've got to want to write, I say to them, not want to be a writer. The reality is that writing is a lonely, private and poor-paying affair. For every writer kissed by fortune, there are thousands more whose longing is never requited. Even those who succeed often know long periods of neglect and poverty. I did.
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It's not possible to advise a young writer because every young writer is so different. You might say, "Read," but a writer can read too much and be paralyzed. Or, "Don't read, don't think, just write," and the result could be a mountain of drivel. If you're going to be a writer you'll probably take a lot of wrong turns and then one day just end up writing something you have to write, then getting it better and better just because you want it to be better, and even when you get old and think, "There must be something else people do," you won't be able to quit.
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It's not possible to advise a young writer because every young writer is so different. You might say, 'Read, ' but a writer can read too much and be paralyzed. Or, 'Don't read, don't think, just write, ' and the result could be a mountain of drivel. If you're going to be a writer you'll probably take a lot of wrong turns and then one day just end up writing something you have to write, then getting it better and better just because you want it to be better, and even when you get old and think 'There must be something else people do, ' you won't quite be able to quit.
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The most important trait of a writer is an authentic voice. Writers have to have faith in their own voice, and their own way of doing things. Originality is the gem that every writer possesses. Originality also brings on the most merciless attacks. The world resents originality in the beginning writer, and then rewards it abundantly once that writer has been successfully published. Cherish your own voice. Don't try to sound like anybody else. Sound like yourself and take the slings and arrows and keep going.
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No one can teach writing, but classes may stimulate the urge to write. If you are born a writer, you will inevitably and helplessly write. A born writer has self-knowledge. Read, read, read. And if you are a fiction writer, dont confine yourself to reading fiction. Every writer is first a wide reader.
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A writer is someone who analyses the society, people and the world around him or her. Simply a writer is someone who pays attention to the utmost simple things happening around him or her. I believe the best things about being a writer is, you are going to live forever through your work, in your books, in the hearts of your readers, in your characters.
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Don't put down too many roots in terms of a domicile. I have lived in four countries and I think my life as a writer and our family's life have been enriched by this. I think a writer has to experience new environments. There is that adage: No man can really succeed if he doesn't move away from where he was born. I believe it is particularly true for the writer.
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The writer's job is to write with rigor, with commitment, to defend what they believe with all the talent they have. I think that's part of the moral obligation of a writer, which cannot be only purely artistic. I think a writer has some kind of responsibility at least to participate in the civic debate. I think literature is impoverished, if it becomes cut from the main agenda of people, of society, of life.
Mario Vargas Llosa
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There were always men looking for jobs in America. There were always all these usable bodies. And I wanted to be a writer. Almost everybody was a writer. Not everybody thought they could be a dentist or an automobile mechanic but everybody knew they could be a writer. Of those fifty guys in the room, probably fifteen of them thought they were writers. Almost everybody used words and could write them down, i.e., almost everybody could be a writer. But most men, fortunately, aren't writers, or even cab drivers, and some men - many men - unfortunately aren't anything.
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I was writing at a really young age, but it took me a long time to be brave enough to become a published writer, or to try to become a published writer. It's a very public way to fail. And I was kind of scared, so I started out as a ghost writer, and I wrote for other series, like Disney 'Aladdin' and 'Sweet Valley' and books like that.
K. A. Applegate
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Eating words and listening to them rumbling in the gut is how a writer learns the acid and alkali of language. It is a process at the same time physical and intellectual. The writer has to hear language until she develops perfect pitch, but she also has to feel language, to know it sweat and dry. The writer finds the words are visceral, and when she can eat them, wear them, and enter them like tunnels she discovers the alleged separation between word and meaning between writer and word is theoretical.
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The first is that good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals (vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style) and then filling the third level of your toolbox with the right instruments. The second is that while it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one, it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one
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The writer's characters must stand before us with a wonderful clarity, such continuous clarity that nothing they do strikes us as improbable behavior for just that character, even when the character's action is, as sometimes happens, something that came as a surprise to the writer himself. We must understand, and the writer before us must understand, more than we know about the character; otherwise neither the writer nor the reader after him could feel confident of the character's behavior when the character acts freely.
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Becoming a writer can kind of spoil your reading because you kind of read on tracks. You're reading as someone who wants to enjoy the book but also, as a writer, noticing the techniques that the writer uses and especially the ones that make you want to turn the page to see what happened.
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The characters created cannot just be a mouthpiece for the writer. When you look at a piece of writing, and it's genuine and it doesn't feel like every character is just a mouthpiece for the writer, but that they've been created in such a way that they're expressing an idea that a writer wants to get across, that's when a story succeeds.
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When I look at Perfidia, I think, "That's a Pulitzer Prize winner. That's a National Book Award winner." It's not going to get it. It's going to be shelved in crime and it's just the way it is. I've done something that no one else has ever done; I've started out as a mystery writer, a police writer, and a crime writer, and I became something entirely different.
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I was thinking: to write and being a writer are two kind of diferrences things. To write is a please. Being a writer is about taking it as a job, as a consequency, as a responsibility. And being a writer is about ENDLESSLY passion. If you don't like it, just don't do it. If you can't do it, just take it as a please.
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I'm not the most talented writer in the world. I know that. But I also know that I'm disciplined, that I work my butt off, and that I make myself write as much as I can. Writer's block is a luxury I can't afford. I'm a professional writer, which means that I put my butt in the chair each day, and I write. Simple as that.
David B. Coe
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Who made me laugh when I was growing was Chaplin and the Marx Brothers, and then moving on, there were so many that I was a writer for for many years: I was a writer for the Smothers Brothers, Lily Tomlin, then I started on 'Saturday Night Live' as the head writer the first year we started it.
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The life of a writer is absolute hell compared to the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work He has to make his own hours and if he doesn't go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him... A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.
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I'm looking for a writer who doesn't know where the sentence is leading her; a writer who starts with her obsessions and whose heart is bursting with love, a writer sly enough to give the slip to her secret police, the ones who know her so well, the ones with the power to accuse and condemn in the blink of an eye. It's all right that she doesn't know what she's thinking until she writes it, as if the words already exist somewhere and draw her to them. She may not know how she got there, but she knows when she's arrived.
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Why shouldn't I? I demand silently. Why shouldn't I become a famous writer? Like Norman Mailer. Or Philip Roth. And F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemmingway and all those other men. Why can't I be like them? I mean, what is the point of becoming a writer if no one reads what you've written? Damn Viktor Greene and The New School. Why do I have to keep proving myself all of the time? Why can't I be like L'il, with everyone praising and encouraging me? Or Rainbow, with her sense of entitlement. I bet Viktor Greene never asked Rainbow why she wanted to be a writer. Or what if-I wince-Viktor Greene is right? I'm not a writer after all.
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It is easier for the reader to judge, by a thousand times, than for the writer to invent. The writer must summon his Idea out of nowhere, and his characters out of nothing, and catch words as they fly, and nail them to the page. The reader has something to go by and somewhere to start from, given to him freely and with great generosity by the writer. And still the reader feels free to find fault.
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I would also argue that there is a good chance that an outline will help you stave off any onslaught of writer's block. Let me advise you right up front that I am not a big believer in writer's block. I think writer's block is God's way of telling you one of two things - that you failed to think your material through sufficiently before you started writing, or that you need a day or two off with your family and friends.
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Writers are people who write. By and large, they are not happy people. They're not good at relationships. Often they're drunks. And writing-good writing-does not get easier and easier with practice. It gets harder and harder-so that eventually the writer must stall out into silence. The silence that waits for every writer and that, inevitably, if only with death, the writer must fall into is angst-ridden and terrifying-and often drives us mad. So if you're not a writer, consider yourself fortunate.
Samuel R. Delany
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One of the advantages of having gone to Penn State was having had a scholar for a mentor - Philip Young. Also, a professional writer named Philip Klass taught there. He was a science fiction writer whose pseudonym was William Tenn. As a professional writer, he brought wisdom to teaching because he'd done it for a living.
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A writer is a dangerous friend. Everything you say, all of your life and experience, is fodder for our writing. We mean you no harm, but what you know and what you've done is unavoidably fascinating to us. Being friends with a writer is a bit like trying to keep a bear as a pet. They're wonderful, friendly creatures, but they play rough and they don't know their own strength or remember that they have claws. Choose the stories you tell to your writer friends carefully.
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I'm a 48-year-old writer who can remember being a 10-year-old writer and who expects someday to be an 80-year-old writer. I'm also comfortably asocial -- a hermit in the middle of Los Angeles -- a pessimist if I'm not careful, a feminist, a Black, a former Baptist, an oil-and-water combination of ambition, laziness, insecurity, certainty, and drive.
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There's a writer for you, ' he said. 'Knows everything and at the same time he knows nothing.' [narrator]It was my first inkling that he was a writer. And while I like writers-because if you ask a writer anything you usually get an answer-still it belittled him in my eyes. Writers aren't people exactly. Or, if they're any good, they're a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It's like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors. Who lean backward trying-only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.
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At some point along the way, I stopped being a writer, and I became a black writer. I never used to be a black writer. I used to write 'Spider-Man,' 'Green Lantern,' whatever was lying around. 'Thor,' 'Hulk,' whatever. Now, if the phone rings or when the phone rings, it's almost exclusively some project that has something to do with my ethnicity.
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The most difficult thing about living as a writer is precisely 'having to write.' Pretending to be a writer is easy. Living freely, reading many books, going on frequent trips, cultivating minor eccentricities... but genuinely being a writer is difficult, because you have to write something that will convince both yourself and readers.
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Just write. If you have to make a choice, if you say, 'Oh well, I'm going to put the writing away until my children are grown,' then you don't really want to be a writer. If you want to be a writer, you do your writing... If you don't do it, you probably don't want to be a writer, you just want to have written and be famous""which is very different.
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The best way a writer can find to keep himself going is to live off his (or her) spouse. The trouble is that, psychologically at least, it's hard. Our culture teaches none of its false lessons more carefully than that one should never be dependent. Hence the novice or still unsuccessful writer, who has enough trouble believing in himself, has the added burden of shame. It's hard to be a good writer and a guilty person; a lack of self-respect creeps into one's prose.
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The writer must have a good imagination to begin with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding and revising." [The Writer's Digest Interview: Stephen King & Jerry B. Jenkins (Jessica Strawser, Writer's Digest, May/June 2009)]
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What a pleasure it is to be in the company of a writer with enthusiasm for his subject! It doesn't matter what the subject is; I want and ichthyologists to be as committed to fish as Mayor is two prints - to make me think there's nothing more important to him. This is the personal connection that every reader wants with a writer; if we care about the writer will follow him into subjects that we could have sworn we never wanted to know about. The blind attachment of a hobbyist to his hobby is as interesting a right force as the hobby itself.
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In this century the writer has carried on a conversation with madness. We might almost say of the twentieth-century writer that he aspires to madness. Some have made it, of course, and they hold special places in our regard. To a writer, madness is a final distillation of self, a final editing down. It's the drowning out of false voices.
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How often I have tried to tell writing students that the first thing a writer must do is love the reader and wish the reader well. The writer must trust the reader to be at least as intelligent as he is. Only in such well wishing and trust, only when the writer feels he is writing a letter to a good friend, only then will the magic happen.
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Whenever people ask me, "How are your books doing?" or, "How is your book doing?" I just say, "It's okay." I mean, what am I supposed to say? I'm a writer; that means I write because I need to write, because that's how I breathe and that's how I bleed. I'm not an author; I'm a writer. Even when I don't want to write; I can't stop! So, how are my books doing? The hell I know! The moment after I publish one book, I'm writing another one! I don't know how my books are doing! I just know that I'm writing them! I'm a writer, I'm a writer. I'm not an author.
C. JoyBell C.
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Literature is a place for generosity and affection and hunger for equals - not a prizefight ring. We are increased, confirmed in our medium, roused to do our best, by every good writer, every fine achievement. Would we want one good writer or fine book less? The sense of writers being pitted against each other is bred primarily by the workings of the commercial marketplace, and by critics lauding one writer at the expense of another while ignoring the existence of nearly all.
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A Book I Can Put Down I'm halfway through and I've gotten used to the way it wants to be read. This writer wants to spoon it up, wants to watch me swallow it. This writer makes a point of good deeds, clean living, god and country, when what I want is sin and shame, the rusty metal edge of cruelty, varieties of pain, his mother still crying years later, just like mine. I want a writer who's given up on the moral of the story, one who'll hand me a knife and sit back to see what I do with it. (Published in Anderbo)
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The writer is a definite human phenomenon. He is almost a type - as pugilists are a type. He may be a bad writer - an insipid one or a clumsy one - but there is a bug in him that keeps spinning yarns; and that bulges his brow a bit, narrows his jaws, weakens his eyes and gives him girl children instead of boys. Nobody but a writer can write. People who hang around writers for years - as producers did - who are much smarter and have much better taste, never learn to write.
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I never tried to ingratiate myself with great writers. When a great writer has nothing to say, he does something else, like chopping firewood. A great writer doesn't try to find something to write about, he only writes when he has to. I was no great writer. I've always had the need to unload my thoughts, and so had to live with a kind of mental incontinence, but I've never felt forced to write a novel. Nor, for that matter, have I ever chopped firewood.
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