Writers' Ink at Caledon Public Library

Reassuring Words from Successful Writers

Many people want to write, but are held back by fear.  Some common worries:

– that they’re not talented enough

– that they’re not fast enough

– that they have no stories worth telling

– that they’ll make a mistake.

Here are a few quotes from successful writers addressing these concerns:-

1) Common worry: not being talented enough

Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.
Erica Jong

Mere literary talent is common; what is rare is endurance, the continuing desire to work…
Donald Hall

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
Stephen King

Every artist was first an amateur.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

2) Common worry: not being fast enough

Literature is not a sack race.”
Charles Baxter

I’ve tried to write faster, and I don’t really enjoy it.”
Donna Tartt (who takes about ten years to complete each of her novels)

“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.”
Junot Diaz

3) Common worry: not having stories worth telling

So, you know, I think any life has in it enough material, enough points of departure, to fuel a writer’s career and that we shouldn’t worry about what we’re not but to try to focus on what we are and what we do know.
John Updike

The business of the novelist is not to relate great events, but to make small ones interesting.”
Arthur Schopenhauer

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

Sylvia Plath

4) Common worry: making a mistake

Perfectionism is the enemy of creation.
John Updike

One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing — writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.
Lawrence Block

Don’t get discouraged if you’re hammering away at a sentence or a paragraph or a chapter, and it keeps coming out wrong. You’re allowed to get it wrong, as many times as you need to; you only need to get it right once.”
Tana French

One question at the end of the day: Did I work? If the answer’s yes, no other questions. And no matter how bad or sloppy it seems to go in a day’s session, it is always going well if you’re working on it.”
Richard Bausch

from Creative Writing Now courtesy of Alton member Nancy Rorke

About Alton Chapter

The Alton Chapter of Writers' Ink meets the 1st Wednesday of the month from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Alton Branch.

One comment on “Reassuring Words from Successful Writers

  1. Michele Fisher
    December 15, 2016

    These are great ‹ thank you for sending!

    From: Writers’ Ink at Caledon Public Library Reply-To: Writers’ Ink at Caledon Public Library Date: Wednesday, 14 December, 2016 10:50 AM To: Michele Fisher Subject: [New post] Reassuring Words from Successful Writers

    WordPress.com Alton Chapter posted: ” Many people want to write, but are held back by fear. Some common worries: – that they’re not talented enough – that they’re not fast enough – that they have no stories worth telling – that they’ll make a mistake. Here are a few quotes from succe”

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This entry was posted on December 14, 2016 by in Writing Advice and tagged , .

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