Sunday, September 17, 2017

Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers

John McPhee is the maestro of 40,000-word nonfiction articles. He spent weeks staring at the sky thinking about how to begin. Can anyone still afford to write like that? NonFiction  

The Enlightenment emerged from a 150-year “staccato burst” of European philosophy. Why did these thinkers — Hobbes, Descarte, Voltaire, Rousseau — write as they did?  

Every generation discovers its own Edgar Allan Poe. Now gig-economy writers have a kindred spirit: Poe, too, was a broke-ass Free Lancers  

If John le Carré's espionage novels seem particularly authentic, it may be because the author has first-hand experience. Le Carré worked as a spy for the British intelligence services MI5 and MI6 early in his writing career, and only left the field after his third book, 1963's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, became an international best-seller.
Novelist John Le Carré Reflects On His Own 'Legacy' Of Spying : NPR

...Review: We the (Library-Card Carrying) People of ‘Ex Libris’

"Luckily for art, life is difficult, hard to understand, useless, and mysterious.”

“It’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention.”
  “There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored.”

Charles Bukowski on Writing and His Insane Daily Routine“Blogging is like going to bed with a beautiful woman and afterwards she gets up, goes to her purse and gives me a handful of money."

Anaïs Nin: Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”  

Consolation for those moments when you can’t tell whether you’re “the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world.”

David Ogilvy: 10 No-Bullshit Tips on Writing
“Never write more than two pages on any subject.”

Annie Dillard on Writing “At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain,  and then — and only then — it is handed to you.” 

“You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.”

Jorge Luis Borges on Writing: Wisdom from His Most Candid Interviews

  • “A writer’s work is the product of laziness.”

  • By popular demand, I’ve put together a periodically updated reading list of all the famous advice on writing presented here over the years, featuring words of wisdom from such masters of the craft as Jozef IMrich,   Kurt VonnegutSusan SontagHenry Miller,Stephen KingF. Scott FitzgeraldSusan OrleanErnest HemingwayZadie Smith, and more

    David Foster Wallace: Writing, Death, and Redemption “You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness … has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me.”

    “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”

    Charles Bukowski Debunks the “Tortured Genius” Myth of Creativity
    “unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it.”

    What’s the difference between Game of Thrones character Cersei Lannister and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton? One is an entitled narcissist who quietly supported her lecherous husband (whom she clearly loathed) when it was politically convenient, then insisted it was her turn to rule (even though it wasn’t), chose boot-lickers, ass-kissers, and elitist bankers as her advisors while alienating more competent and better-liked people who might have helped her, exacted petty vengeance on imagined enemies, escaped justice and the judgment of the people by destroying her main rival—the charismatic, income-inequality obsessed populist—with an explosive cheat, and was left confused why so many people in her country would rather be ruled by a complete political unknown who tells it like it is

     YOU WERE ALSO A DUMBASS, WHICH IS WORSE: “It appears that by trying to be sensitive to part of the community, I was insensitive to another part.”

    UPDATE: From the comments: “Authorities are getting so stupid so fast that I just can’t keep up.”