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  With a Little Help From Old Friends...

You write in order to change the world ...

if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.

                                                               -James Baldwin

There's nothing to writing. All you do is

sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.

                                                      -Ernest Hemingway


Read, read, read. Read everything - trash,

classics, good and bad, and see how they do it.

Just like a carpenter who works as

an apprentice and studies the master.

Read! You'll absorb it.
Then write. If it's good, you'll find out.

If it's not, throw it out of the window.
                                                         -William Faulkner

You can't wait for inspiration.

You have to go after it with a club.

                                                                   -Jack London

If you can tell stories, create characters,

devise incidents, and have sincerity

and passion, it doesn't matter a damn

how you write.
                                               -W. Somerset Maugham

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad,

but it's the only way you can do anything good.
                                                       -William Faulkner



I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing

if you do that. Your mind must know

it has got to get down to work.
                                                                -Pearl S. Buck



Write while the heat is in you. …

The writer who postpones the recording

of his thoughts uses an iron which has

cooled to burn a hole with.
                                               -Henry David Thoreau

What difference does it make if you live in a picturesque little outhouse surrounded by

300 feeble minded goats and your faithful dog?    The question is: Can you write?
                                                      -Ernest Hemingway

Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader

may see what they are made of.
                                                                -Kurt Vonnegut

You learn to write by writing, and by reading and thinking about how writers have created their characters and invented their stories.

If you are not a reader, don't even

                  think about being a writer.                                                                                             -Jean M. Auel

           The first draft of anything is shit.                                                                            -Ernest Hemingway

Don't tell me the moon is shining;

show me the glint of light on broken glass.
                                                             -Anton Chekhov


All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.     

                                                       -Ernest Hemingway

Learn the rules like a pro,

so you can break them like an artist.

                                                                  -Pablo Picasso


I believe more in the scissors

         than I do in the pencil.         

                                                           -Truman Capote

Somebody gets into trouble, then gets out

of it again. People love that story.

 They never get tired of it.
                                                             -Kurt Vonnegut


In displaying the psychology of your characters, minute particulars are essential. God save us from vague generalizations!
                                                           -Anton Chekhov


A writer doesn’t solve problems.

He allows them to emerge.
                                                  -Friedrich Dürrenmatt

       You know you’re writing well when you’re               throwing good stuff into the wastebasket.                                                                    -Ernest Hemingway

You write your books. You scatter your seeds.

Rats might eat them, or they might rot.

In California, some seeds lie dormant

for decades because they only

germinate after fire, and sometimes

the burned landscape blooms most lavishly.
                                                               -Rebecca Solnit



To write simply is as difficult as to be good.
                                               -W. Somerset Maugham

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Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple

and learn how to handle them,

and pretty soon you have a dozen.

                                                               -John Steinbeck

When I write, I feel like an armless,

legless man with a crayon in his mouth.

                                                               -Kurt Vonnegut


Literature is strewn with the wreckage

of those who have minded beyond reason

the opinion of others.
                                                               -Virginia Woolf

When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters.

A character is a caricature.

                                                      -Ernest Hemingway

I don't know much about creative writing programs. But they're not telling the

truth if they don't teach,

one, that writing is hard work, and,

two, that you have to give up a great deal of life,

your personal life, to be a writer.
              -Doris Lessing

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is

that they don't stifle enough of them.

There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

                                                    -Flannery O'Connor


It is the storyteller's task to elicit sympathy

and a measure of understanding

for those who lie outside the boundaries

of State approval.
                                                           -Graham Greene


In every bit of honest writing in the world,

there is a base theme. Try to understand men,

if you understand each other

you will be kind to each other.

Knowing a man well never leads to hate

and nearly always leads to love.

                                                             -John Steinbeck



It's harder to write in the third person but

the advantage is you move around better.
                                                     -Ernest Hemingway

The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.


Reading and writing are in themselves

subversive acts. What they subvert is the notion that things have to be the way they are, 

that you are alone, that no one

                   has ever felt the way you have.                                                                                   -Kurt Vonnegut


“What is your advice to young writers?"

"Drink, fuck and smoke plenty of cigarettes."

"What is your advice to older writers?"

"If you're still alive, you don't need any advice."

"What is the impulse that makes you create a poem?"

              "What makes you take a shit?”                                                                                 -Charles Bukowski


I will take any liberty I want with facts

as long as I don't trespass on the truth...

We confuse facts with truth.


You can't blame a writer

for what the characters say.

                                                             -Truman Capote

I would advise anyone who aspires 

to a writing career

that before developing his talent

          he would be wise to develop a thick hide.                                                                              -Harper Lee

Be sure not to discuss your hero's state

of mind. Make it clear from his actions.

                                                             -Anton Chekhov

If the word doesn't exist, invent it;

but first be sure it doesn't exist.

                                                   - Charles Baudelaire

Invention, it must be humbly admitted,

does not consist in creating out of void

but out of chaos.
                                                                    -Mary Shelly

Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself. It's a self-exploratory operation that is endless.

An exorcism of not necessarily his demon,

but of his divine discontent.

                                                                      -Harper Lee


When people read his books they have an uncontrollable desire to hang

the author in the town square.

         I can’t think of a higher honor for a writer.                                                                    -Roberto Bolaño

A short story must have a single mood

and every sentence must build towards it.

                                                             -Edgar Allan Poe

Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is

to express them without squandering a

quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.

                                                                     - Mark Twain


That is the mystery about writing:

it comes out of afflictions, out of the gouged times, when the heart is cut open.

                                                                  -Edna O'Brien

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