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Quoatable Quotes

Here’s some sage advice (and gripes and commiserations) from writers who have been there and done that.

All of them made me go “Exactly! That is so true!” or “That’s how it should be!” when I first came upon them; so I thought I’d pass them along…

  • Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. 

                                     – E.L. Doctorow

  • If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. 

                                     – Toni Morrison

  • Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. 

                                     – William Wordsworth

  • Easy reading is damn hard writing. 

                                     – Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote. 

                                     – Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

  • Be obscure clearly. 

                                     – E.B. White

  • Write your first draft with your heart.  Re-write with your head. 

                                     – From the movie Finding Forrester

  • The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. 

                                     – Thomas Jefferson

  • I try to leave out the parts that people skip. 

                                     – Elmore Leonard

  • The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. 

                                     – Norbet Platt

Happy reading and writing, everyone!

Source for the quotations: The Quote Garden

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Okay, so the title is not entirely true. I still very much love and enjoy reading. It’s just that the definition of ‘fun’ as it relates to reading has changed for me.

Now, when I pick up a book, it’s not merely to indulge myself. It’s not just a hobby any longer, though I’d have to admit, reading has always been much more than a hobby with me – it’s been a natural part of my life.

It’s just that my objectivity and perspective as a reader have recently altered. It’s like a kaleidoscope: I have adjusted the viewing tube ever so slightly and the whole pattern has shifted.

Let’s take a look at some of the thoughts that are likely to roil through a writer’s head the minute s/he starts reading a good book written by someone else:

  1. Wow, what a strong opening! Guess I need to work on mine (in my novel-in-progress) some more. (This thought can be objectively interpreted as: “Wish I would experience an epiphany and the opening for my novel would strike me like a bolt of lightning.”)
  2. Ugh! How could he have written the exact scene that has been brewing in my head for the past two weeks? (Read as: “The scene is somewhat similar to the one I’ve been sketching – the same one I haven’t been able to cough up coherently enough to put down on paper yet.”)
  3. Yes!! The voice of this character is very close to my protagonist’s. (Read as: “If this book got published, then there’s hope for mine, too!”)
  4. The narrative is so catchy; I admire the style very much! (Read as: “I’m envious, pure and simple.”)
  5. The plot is strong, there is just the right balance of dialogue and narrative, and the flow is so natural in this book. (Read as: “How many more revisions before my manuscript gets this tight?”)
  6. This author is so prolific. (Read as: “I’m jealous of this author.”)
  7. Gosh, I never expected this twist! (Read as: “I need to explore this genre more, if I didn’t see this coming. Sigh!”)

Reading like a writer is a completely different game, with its own set of rules, than reading for fun or relaxation. It is a sport that can become exciting and effective with discipline and practice.

I am game for this: I look forward to fashioning new relationships with a whole lot of new books, and forging fresher bonds with those that I have already read in the past.

Has something like this happened to you? I’d love it if you’d share with us your newfound wisdom!

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