"As writers, we don’t have to like disappointment and failure, but we must make room for it. It might help us to disabuse ourselves of the notion that as soon as “success” is achieved, things will be easier. I don’t think it gets any easier. The stakes will always feel impossibly high, and that’s just as it should be."
— Episodia 1.10: Artistic Disappointment | Ploughshares
"To follow literary fashion, to write for money, to censor your true feelings and thoughts or adopt ideas because they’re popular requires a writer to suppress the very promptings that got him or her writing in the first place. When you started writing, in high school or college, it wasn’t out of a wish to be published, or to be successful, or even to win a lovely award like the one you’re receiving tonight. It was in response to the wondrousness and humiliation of being alive. Remember? You were fifteen and standing beside a river in wintertime. Ice floes drifted slowly downstream. Your nose was running."
Jeffrey Eugenides’s Advice to Young Writers : The New Yorker
I actually love a lot of what he says here…
"And if you’re gonna be a writer, you just truly have to be a writer. You have to throw yourself into it and deal with the negative consequences of that. And there are negative consequences. I mean, there are. But, it’s also true that you wouldn’t be interviewing me right now if I had worked at the post office. You wouldn’t. I would be still writing, but I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I’ve gotten, because I wouldn’t have had the time."
The Millions : Put It in a Box and Wait: The Millions Interviews Cheryl Strayed
Everything about this interview is amazing. Just everything. Abortion. Grief. Writing about grief. Credit card debt. Read it.
"Most people say, “Show, don’t tell,” but I stand by Show and Tell, because when writers put their work out into the world, they’re like kids bringing their broken unicorns and chewed-up teddy bears into class in the sad hope that someone else will love them as much as they do."
— Colson Whitehead’s Rules for Writing - NYTimes.com (via michelledean)
"Writer’s block is a tool — use it. When asked why you haven’t produced anything lately, just say, “I’m blocked.” Since most people think that writing is some mystical process where characters “talk to you” and you can hear their voices in your head, being blocked is the perfect cover for when you just don’t feel like working. The gods of creativity bless you, they forsake you, it’s out of your hands and whatnot. Writer’s block is like “We couldn’t get a baby sitter” or “I ate some bad shrimp,” an excuse that always gets you a pass."
Colson Whitehead’s Rules for Writing (via austinkleon)
And walking away from writing is sometimes the best thing for it—makes room for that voila! moment.
"The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough."
— Ernest Hemingway (via irisblasi)