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Quotes

'Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom, but they dare to go it alone.'

 

 

'Use your imagination. Trust me, your lives are not interesting. Don't write them down.'

'It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.'

Writing is a question of finding a certain rhythm. I compare it to the rhythms of jazz. Much of the time life is a sort of rhythmic progression of three characters. If one tells oneself that life is like that, one feels it less arbitrary.

'The majority of poems one outgrows and outlives, as one outgrows and outlives the majority of human passions.'

'Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.'

'Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.'

'Confronted by an absolutely infuriating review it is sometimes helpful for the victim to do a little personal research on the critic. Is there any truth to the rumor that he had no formal education beyond the age of eleven? In any event, is he able to construct a simple English sentence? Do his participles dangle? When moved to lyricism does he write "I had a fun time"?  Read more

'Only a person with a Best Seller mind can write Best Sellers.'

'The literary world is made up of little confederacies, each looking upon its own members as the lights of the universe; and considering all others as mere transient meteors, doomed to soon fall and be forgotten, while its own luminaries are to shine steadily into immortality.'

'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.'

'To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over.'

'No poet, no artist of any art has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.'

'Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.'

 

 

'Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.'

'This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don't consider it rejected. Consider that you've addressed it 'to the editor who can appreciate my work' and it has simply come back stamped 'Not at this address'. Just keep looking for the right address.'

'I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged...I had poems which were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.'

'Any good writer is a good reader first. There’s no substitute for being steeped in the great work of the past, and reading the work of your contemporaries. It’s an obvious piece of advice, but no less true for that.'

'A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.'

'I can't write without a reader. It's precisely like a kiss - you can't do it alone.'

‘If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.'

'To write fiction, one needs a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.'

'A "bestseller" is a celebrity among books. It is a book known primarily (sometimes exclusively) for its well-knowness.'

'Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.'

'It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.'

'It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes.  Read more

'To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over...'

'Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.'

 

 


'A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating.'

'To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over....'

'It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.'

'Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents and everyone is writing a book.'

 

 

'An artist's sensitivity to criticism is, at least in part, an effort to keep unimpaired the zest, or confidence, or arrogance, which he needs to make creation possible; or an instinct to climb through his problems in his own way as he should, and must.'

'The historian records, but the novelist creates.'

'There is an element of autobiography in all fiction in that pain or distress, or pleasure, is based on the author's own. But in my case that is as far as it goes. My fiction may, now and again, illuminate aspects of the human condition, but I do not consciously set out to do so, I am a storyteller.'

'When writing a novel, that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: "House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day."'

'A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him.'
Dylan Thomas

'Writers aren't like plumbers. If you're a plumber, you fix one person's boiler in the morning, then you go and fix another in the afternoon. I didn't want to write a book unless I had something new to say - and it was good to live a little in between.'

The Guardian

'A good mystery keeps you up on Saturday night. A bad mystery puts you to sleep on Sunday afternoon. Either way, you come out ahead.'

‘New media and new forms of buying and lending are all very interesting, for all kinds of reasons, but one principle remains unchanged: authors must be paid fairly for their work. Any arrangement that doesn't acknowledge that principle is a bad one, and needs to be changed. That is our whole argument.'

Bestselling children’s author Philip Pullman, in his capacity as President-elect of the UK Society of Authors

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