On Writing Well Quotes

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Quotes About On Writing Well

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The writer, his eye on the finish line, never gave enough thought to how to run the race. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
The final advantage is the same that applies in every other competitive venture. If you would like to write better than everyone else, you have to want to write better than everyone else. You must take an obsessive pride in the smallest details of your craft. And you must be willing to defend what you've written against the various middlemen--editors, agents, and publishers--whose sights may be different from yours, whose standards are not as high. Too many writers are browbeaten into settling for less than their best. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
But apart from these lazinesses of logic, what makes the story so tired is the failure of the writer to reach for anything but the nearest cliche'. "Shouldered his way," "only to be met," "crashing into his face," "waging a lonely war," "corruption that is rife," "sending shock waves," "New York's finest," - these dreary phrases constitute writing at its most banal. We know just what to expect. No surprise awaits us in the form of an unusual word, an oblique look. We are in the hands of a hack, and we know it right away, We stop reading. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
Good writing is good writing, whatever form it takes and whatever we call it. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
But on the question of who you're writing for, don't be eager to please. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
...being "rather unique" is no more possible than being rather pregnant. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
I'm often dismayed by the sludge I see appearing on my screen if I approach writing as a task--the day's work--and not with some enjoyment. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
Writing is such a lonely work that I try to keep myself cheered up. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
I don't read a lot of inspirational books for life. But for writing, I think the two best books are The War of Art and William Zinsser's On Writing Well. I read a lot of classics; ~ Donald Miller
On Writing Well quotes by Donald Miller
Don't annoy your readers by over-explaining--by telling them something they already know or can figure out. Try not to use words like "surprisingly," "predictably" and "of course," which put a value on a fact before the reader encounters the fact. Trust your material. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
Learn to enjoy this tidying process. I don't like to write; I like to have written. But I love to rewrite. I especially like to cut: to press the DELETE key and see an unnecessary word or phrase or sentence vanish into the electricity. I like to replace a humdrum word with one that has more precision or color. I like to strengthen the transition between one sentence and another. I like to rephrase a drab sentence to give it a more pleasing rhythm or a more graceful musical line. With every small refinement I feel that I'm coming nearer to where I would like to arrive, and when I finally get there I know it was the rewriting, not the writing, that wont the game. ~ William Zinsser
On Writing Well quotes by William Zinsser
Science fiction is a dialogue, a tennis match, in which the Idea is volleyed from one side of the net to the other. Ridiculous to say that someone 'stole' an idea: no, no, a thousand times no. The point is the volley, and how it's carried, and what statement is made by the answering 'statement.' In other words - if Burroughs initiates a time-gate and says it works randomly, and then Norton has time gates confounded with the Perilous Seat, the Siege Perilous of the Round Table, and locates it in a bar on a rainy night - do you see both the humor and the volley in the tennis match? ~ C.J. Cherryh
On Writing Well quotes by C.J. Cherryh
I owe all my originality, such as it is, to my determination not to be a literary man. Instead of belonging to a literary club I belong to a municipal council. Instead of drinking and discussing authors and reviews, I sit on committees with capable practical greengrocers and bootmakers ... Keep away from books and from men who get their ideas from books, and your own books will always be fresh. ~ George Bernard Shaw
On Writing Well quotes by George Bernard Shaw
Voice is the je ne sais quoi of spirited writing. It separates brochures and brilliance, memo and memoir, a ship's log and The Old Man and the Sea. The best writers stamp prose with their own distinctive personality; their timbre and tone are as recognizable as their voices on the phone. To cultivate voice, you must listen for the music of language-the vernacular, the syntactic tics, the cadences. ~ Constance Hale
On Writing Well quotes by Constance Hale
I was not especially enthusiastic about opera when I was young, and I thought I would never write one. I felt it was an art form of the past, with expensive singers exposing their high notes, and bad theater, and ridiculous stories which don't concern us. But then little by little I realized that it can be defined very differently, that on the contrary opera can be something profound and not superficial - a wonderful meeting point for all the other arts. ~ Kaija Saariaho
On Writing Well quotes by Kaija Saariaho
As I build sentences, I roll them sometimes on my mouth to taste them as I write them. I have this emptying of the mind and the focusing on that single thing, that infinitesimal moment and there is perfection, you know, as if I exist fully in that nanosecond of emotion. ~ Trinity Jones
On Writing Well quotes by Trinity Jones
I was thinking about doing another film at the same time, which was the sequel to Basic Instinct and I just had a feeling that wasn't going to happen. You know, I just kind of read the writing on the wall. ~ Bruce Greenwood
On Writing Well quotes by Bruce Greenwood
It really was a whole generation who were listening to Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, James Moody, Fats Navarro and, a little bit later on, Mongo Santamaría and Chuck Berry, and these dozen or so guys gave them a voice. They led the way. They wrote what a whole generation wanted to read. The time was right and they seized the day by writing about their lives. They travelled, they got into scrapes, they got arrested, they got wasted … and they wrote about it.

Isn't that something? ~ Karl Wiggins
On Writing Well quotes by Karl Wiggins
...Montessori decided her teachers must each write their own textbook based on their own understanding of Montessori education... her own personal guidebook to refer to, revise, and add to throughout her teaching career.
...By writing her own guidebook, the Montessori teacher is forced to think through her personal approach to the materials and the children on a deeper level than if she were merely handed someone else's answers. This policy of asking each teacher to state her own understanding of Montessori philosophy is consistent with a philosophy and method of education that asks children to discover their own answers, instead of expecting to appropriate and substitute someone else's experiences for their own. ~ Paula Polk Lillard
On Writing Well quotes by Paula Polk Lillard
I should have been conceived during Woodstock; it's in my blood: that burning desire to turn an absolute on its head and see what's underneath. I'm as random as I can be and as responsible as I should be. Attempting to fuse the two makes for interesting days. ~ Chila Woychik
On Writing Well quotes by Chila Woychik
And then it dawned on me that the greatest love stories in the world never have happy endings. ~ Avijeet Das
On Writing Well quotes by Avijeet Das
I write down inspirational things on cards that I keep in my bag and look at during the round. ~ Yani Tseng
On Writing Well quotes by Yani Tseng
One night I begged Robin, a scientist by training, to watch Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' with me on PBS. He lasted about one act, then turned to me in horror: 'This is how you spend your days? Thinking about things like this?' I was ashamed. I could have been learning about string theory or how flowers pollinate themselves.
I think his remark was the beginning of my crisis of faith. Like so many of my generation in graduate school, I had turned to literature as a kind of substitute for formal religion, which no longer fed my soul, or for therapy, which I could not afford ... I became interested in exploring the theory of nonfiction and in writing memoir, a genre that gives us access to that lost Middlemarch of reflection and social commentary. ~ Mary Rose O'Reilley
On Writing Well quotes by Mary Rose O'Reilley
Some creative writing programs seem evil, but my experience at Irvine was totally the opposite, where I feel like they were really good at focusing in on each writers voice and setting. When I felt like I was obligated to write a story that was more typical, no one really liked it. ~ Aimee Bender
On Writing Well quotes by Aimee Bender
I believe that - if you are serious about a life of writing, or indeed about any creative form of expression - that you should take on this work like a holy calling ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
On Writing Well quotes by Elizabeth Gilbert
I do feel that literature should be demystified. What I object to is what is happening in our era: literature is only something you get at school as an assignment. No one reads for fun, or to be subversive or to get turned on to something. It's just like doing math at school. I mean, how often do we sit down and do trigonometry for fun, to relax. I've thought about this, the domination of the literary arts by theory over the past 25 years -- which I detest -- and it's as if you have to be a critic to mediate between the author and the reader and that's utter crap. Literature can be great in all ways, but it's just entertainment like rock'n'roll or a film. It is entertainment. If it doesn't capture you on that level, as entertainment, movement of plot, then it doesn't work. Nothing else will come out of it. The beauty of the language, the characterisation, the structure, all that's irrelevant if you're not getting the reader on that level -- moving a story. If that's friendly to readers, I cop to it. ~ T. Coraghessan Boyle
On Writing Well quotes by T. Coraghessan Boyle
I'm just saying that once that have an excuse, people will do anything. They do what they are told, and they take their money and they think it's all okay because it's just their job, while their real self is what happens after work, when they're bouncing a baby on the knee, or writing poems about snowflakes or whatever. ~ Paul Murray
On Writing Well quotes by Paul Murray
Writers don't suffer from insanity, they depend upon it! ~ Avijeet Das
On Writing Well quotes by Avijeet Das
We should be told: Write fast, write close to the bone, write for ten hours straight until you're not thinking in words anymore, but in colors, in smells, in waves of memory. Right what you care about. Don't write one more word you don't care about. Don't waste any more of your life on what does not matter to you. Write only what matters to you - those scenes, those dialogues. Get messy. Before you get neat, get very, very messy. Write until you are more alive than you have ever been before. ~ Bonnie Friedman
On Writing Well quotes by Bonnie Friedman
True confession time: I never know where a book is going. I get a gut feeling the story is there, then pursue it with the enthusiasm of a hunting tiger on a trail. If I knew where I was going, I'd get bored out of my mind and stop writing. ~ Jane Lindskold
On Writing Well quotes by Jane Lindskold
I can write a program that lets you break the copy protection on a music file. But I can't write a program that solders new connections onto a chip for you. ~ Dan Farmer
On Writing Well quotes by Dan Farmer
The worst thing you can do is censor yourself as the pencil hits the paper. You must not edit until you get it all on paper. If you can put everything down, stream-of-consciousness, you'll do yourself a service. ~ Stephen Sondheim
On Writing Well quotes by Stephen Sondheim
In order to create you have to believe in your ability to do so and that often means excluding whole chunks of normal life, and, of course, pumping yourself up as much as possible as a way of keeping on. Sort of cheering for yourself in the great football stadium of life.
(Barnes & Noble Review, email dialogue with Cameron Martin, Feb. 09, 2009) ~ T.C. Boyle
On Writing Well quotes by T.C. Boyle
He who could write so easily, who could spend a thousand words down along his plunging fingers on the green-rubber keyboard of his machine, had stumbled like a first-grader over this single paragraph. A dozen times he had begun it and written into it a naked desperation; a dozen times he had begun it and written into it the frosted mathematics of logic. Finally he'd written out quickly the sentences that kept cropping up in all the versions. Those must be, to whatever censor there was in him, the most acceptable ones. He sealed it without rereading it and went out to mail it. An hour later he despised himself for having sent it. ~ Laura Z. Hobson
On Writing Well quotes by Laura Z. Hobson
Well, I've always been a character actor, you know, and you always get your share of character actors who are bad guys. So it never surprises me. And if it's good writing, you can find your way into the part well enough. ~ Colm Meaney
On Writing Well quotes by Colm Meaney
Art goes on in your head. If you said something interesting, that might be a title for a work of art and I'd write it down. ~ Damien Hirst
On Writing Well quotes by Damien Hirst
I think horror, when done well, is one of the most direct and honest ways to get to the core of the human experience because terror reduces all of us to our most authentic forms. ~ Alistair Cross
On Writing Well quotes by Alistair Cross
Perhaps Lila was right: my book - even though it was having so much success - really was bad, and this was because it was well organized, because it was written with obsessive care, because I hadn't been able to imitate the disjointed, unaesthetic, illogical, shapeless banality of things. ~ Elena Ferrante
On Writing Well quotes by Elena Ferrante
I like to write and draw everything with sharpies. I even got one with my own name on it! ~ Alexander Wang
On Writing Well quotes by Alexander Wang
I think I have grown wise enough
To not to wish to climb up the stairs
'M gonna sit, walk, crawl, swing by on the step I am
And let the upper ones have their stare ~ Mansi Laus Deo
On Writing Well quotes by Mansi Laus Deo
I can't stand THE DEPRESSED. It's like a job, it's the only thing they work hard at. Oh good my depression is very well today. Oh good today I have another mysterious symptom and I will have another one tomorrow. The DEPRESSED are full of hate and bile and when they are not having panic attacks they are writing poems. What do they want their poems to DO? Their depression is the most VITAL thing about them. Their poems are threats. ALWAYS threats. There is no sensation that is keener or more active than their pain. They give nothing back except their depression. It's just another utility. Like electricity and water and gas and democracy. They could not survive without it. ~ Deborah Levy
On Writing Well quotes by Deborah Levy
In the present day, when popular literature is running into the low levels of life, and luxuriating on the vices and follies of mankind; and when the universal pursuit of gain is trampling down the early growth of poetic feeling, and wearing out the verdure of the soul, I question whether it would not be of service for the reader occasionally to turn to these records of prouder times and loftier modes of thinking; and to steep himself to the very lips in old Spanish romance. ~ Washington Irving
On Writing Well quotes by Washington Irving
I've been writing poems since I was in the Navy - to Rosalynn. I found I could say things in poems that I never could in prose. Deeper, more personal things. I could write a poem about my mother that I could never tell my mother. Or feelings about being on a submarine that I would have been too embarrassed to share with fellow submariners. ~ Jimmy Carter
On Writing Well quotes by Jimmy Carter
True writers know that writing is not something they feel required to do,
or to make a living they must do, it is quite frankly like breathing. Some
can breathe often and fluently, some short breaths, some a long exhale
and for many of us it is the patient steady breathing surrounding life. ~ Milissa R. Bailey
On Writing Well quotes by Milissa R. Bailey
A particular piece of music attaches itself to the piece I'm writing, and there is nothing else I can listen to. Every day I return to the same space to write, the music providing both the walls and the pictures on the walls. ~ Aleksandar Hemon
On Writing Well quotes by Aleksandar Hemon
Write the words "The FIve Senses" on an index card and tack it to a bulletin board above your desk. You should have a bulletin board above your desk, if at all possible. Some place where you can tack images, quotes, postcards, scraps of thoughts and ideas that will help remind you of you you are and what you're doing. ~ Dani Shapiro
On Writing Well quotes by Dani Shapiro
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