Writs on Writing
Occasionally I come across an observation or a quote on writing which is just too entertaining or too true to leave just there. I collate these and call it Writs on Writing. Some are from known authors, some from Bees. Some are wise, some are humorous, many are both. Enjoy this, I hope it adds fun and insight to your writing on beBee.
Hard writing makes easy reading. Easy writing makes hard reading. - William Zinsser
I have started my novel. I have the pages numbered. – Anon
I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork. – Peter de Vries
Long, hard slog today writing the Great American Tweet. (That was it...what do you think? Pulitzer?) - Greg Tamblyn
The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.—Robert Benchley
I wrote a few children's books. Not on purpose. - Steven Wright
Scribble with sloth and pen with procrastination. - Paul Walters (Paul, I just had to make this one up)
An autobiography usually reveals nothing bad about its writer except his memory. - Franklin Jones
Writing is both mask and unveiling. - E B White
You’re not writing to show how much you know. You’re writing to interest your audience. They don’t care about your opinions as much as they care about your insights. - Robert Cormack
When Thoreau wrote: "Simplify, simplify, simplify!" shouldn't he have edited it down to "Simplify!"? - Anon.
Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling crocodiles. – Olin Miller.
There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. -William Thackeray
It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it. -Jack Kerouac
For me the sorting matrix of readable pieces is as follows: 1) a mediocre theme expressed eloquently, 2) a stunning theme expressed in mediocre fashion, and 3) a stunning theme expressed eloquently. The only writing that is not worth reading is 4) a mediocre theme expressed in mediocre fashion. - Phil Friedman
The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written. - Joyce Carol Oates
It’s one thing to write the way you talk, it’s another to have something worth talking about. - Robert Cormack
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. — Muriel Rukeyser
The passion requires movements or at least a hint of hope. The moment when we all become silent is at the same time the "final moment". - Milos Djukic
Never let a bad memory get in the way of a good memoir. - Joanie Levenson
Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. - Dr Samuel Johnson, to an aspiring writer.
There is only one plot; things are not what they seem. - Jim Thompson
It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. - Robert Benchley
It’s also fun. I genuinely enjoy doing this. Because writers write. - Jim Murray
The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say. - Mark Twain
I don’t like to write, but I like to have written. – Michael Kanin
I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I am inspired at nine o’clock every morning. – Peter de Vries
Grammar are important, and korect spelling even more importanter. - Anon.
I write to find out what I’m talking about. – Edward Albee
If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing. - Kingsley Amis
Whether content stimulates depends on whether or not it has substance, that is, whether it embodies some measure of meaning, interest, amusement, or other intrinsic value. - Phil Friedman
What I want to do is make people laugh so they see things seriously. – William Zinsser
Stop counting words. Make your words count. – Robert Cormack.
Writing is the art of translating/deciphering/simplifying your vast “reservoir” to that simple blank sheet of paper”. - Randall Burns
Writers are those guys and gals that make a living rattling a keyboard. – Todd Jones
There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. – W. Somerset Maugham
Readers become engaged when they can see themselves in the story you are telling. - Steve Harrison
I try to leave out the parts readers skip. – Elmore Leonard
Stories shape both those who tell them and those who are themselves shaped by the storytellers. - Javier beBee
A good novel tells us the truth about its hero, but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author. – Gilbert K. Chesterton.
Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are economical in its use. – Mark Twain
If you want people to read a book, tell them it is overrated. – Nassim Taleb
Sometimes ideas are created as you write them; sometimes ideas fade as you think them. - Me
The final writ on writing is from Jim Murray, expressed as only he can:
The purpose of writing is to communicate. To get ideas into other people's heads. To stimulate their thinking. Phil Friedman actually does this better than I do, but that's really the game here. It's not about ego gratification or anything close to that. Because, speaking for myself, I would write even if it was just for the gestalt of doing it. Writers don't really intellectualize what they are doing. They are simply following a compulsion where it leads. They are trying to influence thinking but it's not like this is some conscious effort. Because at the end of the day, it's really just self-expression. The same way as an artist paints to express himself or a film make makes a film to express himself (or her) self. If somebody reads it and gets something out of it, well that's the icing on the cake.
May you have the best of your writing here on beBee.
(Image of E B White)
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