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Recommended Books
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    The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
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    Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
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    Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews
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    The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to): Guide to the Legal and Business Practices of Writing for the Entertainment Industry
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    Ambrose Bierce's Write It Right: The Celebrated Cynic's Language Peeves Deciphered, Appraised, and Annotated for 21st-Century Readers
    by Ambrose Bierce, Jan Freeman
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    The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers (Modern Library)
    Modern Library
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    The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
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    The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
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    The Writer's Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook For The Working Writer, Third Edition
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    A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
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    Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Paperback)
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    Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
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    Writing for Your Life
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    The Writing Life
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    The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
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    The Writing of Fiction
    by Edith Wharton
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    Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print
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    Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
    by Bonnie Friedman
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    You're a Genius All the Time: Belief and Technique for Modern Prose
    by Regina Weinreich, Jack Kerouac
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    Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You
    by Ray Bradbury

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Tuesday
May102016

Keep Your Bones in Good Motion

Keep your bones in good motion, kid, and quietly consume and digest what is necessary. I think it is not so much important to build a literary thing as it is not to hurt things. I think it is important to be quiet and in love with park benches; solve whole areas of pain by walking across a rug.

CHARLES BUKOWSKI in a letter to John William Corrington (1963)

Monday
May092016

It's the Hardest Work There Is

Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. There is, and you can’t get out of it. I rewrote A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times. You’ve got to work it over. The first draft of anything is shit. When you first start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none, but after you learn to work it’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he had read but something that happened to himself. That’s the true test of writing. When you can do that, the reader gets the kick and you don’t get any. You just get hard work and the better you write the harder it is because every story has to be better than the last one. It’s the hardest work there is. I like to do and can do many things better than I can write, but when I don’t write I feel like shit. I’ve got the talent and I feel that I’m wasting it.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Sunday
May082016

Writing Is Selection

Writing is selection. Just to start a piece of writing you have to choose one word and only one from more than a million in the language. Now keep going. What is your next word? Your next sentence, paragraph, section, chapter? Your next ball of fact. You select what goes in and you decide what stays out. At base you have only one criterion: If something interests you, it goes in—if not, it stays out. That’s a crude way to assess things, but it’s all you’ve got.

JOHN McPHEE

Saturday
May072016

Good Writing is Lean and Confident

Don’t say you were a bit confused and sort of tired and a little depressed and somewhat annoyed. Be tired. Be confused. Be depressed. Be annoyed. Don’t hedge your prose with little timidities. Good writing is lean and confident.

WILLIAM ZINSSER

Friday
May062016

Aim for the Chopping Block

Aim for the chopping block. If you aim for the wood, you will have nothing. Aim past the wood, aim through the wood; aim for the chopping block.

ANNIE DILLARD

Thursday
May052016

Composition is a Discipline

Composition is a discipline; it forces us to think. If you want to “get in touch with your feelings,” fine—talk to yourself; we all do. But, if you want to communicate with another thinking human being, get in touch with your thoughts. Put them in order; give them a purpose; use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce. The secret way to do this is to write it down and then cut out the confusing parts.

WILLIAM SAFIRE

Wednesday
May042016

Close the Door

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.

BARBARA KINGSOLVER

Tuesday
May032016

Keep Your Paragraphs Short

Keep your paragraphs short. Writing is visual—it catches the eye before it has a chance to catch the brain. Short paragraphs put air around what you write and make it look inviting, whereas a long chunk of type can discourage a reader from even starting to read.

WILLIAM ZINSSER

Monday
May022016

It's Not the Writing Part That's Hard

There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.

STEVEN PRESSFIELD

Sunday
May012016

Nothing Comes Free in Movies

I got so good at writing to a budget, my brain was restricting myself. I'd write, It's a stormy night. Then I'd cross out stormy. I'd write: It's a calm night. Then I'd cross out night. It's noon. Because you know how much night costs. You know how much rain costs. Nothing comes free in movies.

ALBERT BROOKS

Saturday
Apr302016

Just Write

If you start to edit as you write, you are climbing into your “editor” self, the self that reads. You’ve done plenty of reading, you don’t need practice right now. Just write.

SANDRA JENSEN

Friday
Apr292016

Abandon the Idea That You Are Ever Going to Finish

Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

JOHN STEINBECK

Thursday
Apr282016

Confront the Dark Parts of Yourself

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.

AUGUST WILSON

Wednesday
Apr272016

Everybody Gets Stuck

Writer’s block is not the same as getting stuck. Everybody gets stuck. The myth of writer’s block may exist partly because not everybody knows how to get unstuck. Allen: I’ve found over the years that any momentary change stimulates a fresh burst of mental energy. So if I’m in this room and then I go into the other room, it helps me. If I go outside to the street, it’s a huge help. If I go up and take a shower it’s a big help. So I sometimes take extra showers. I’ll be in the living room and at an impasse and what will help me is to go upstairs and take a shower. It breaks up everything and relaxes me. I go out on my terrace a lot. One of the best things about my apartment is that it’s got a long terrace and I’ve paced it a million times writing movies. It’s such a help to change the atmosphere.

WOODY ALLEN

Tuesday
Apr262016

Writers Should Produce Works That Endure

Stores are filled with novels with big titles, they sell huge amounts for three months, then disappear. Writers should produce works that endure.

OCTAVIO PAZ

Monday
Apr252016

It's About Having An Organized Mind

I believe you have to write every day–make the time. It’s about having an organized mind instead of a chaotic and untidy one. There is a myth that writers are bohemian and do what they like in their own way. Real writers are the most organized people on the planet. You have to be. You’re doing the work and running your own business as well. It’s an incredibly organized state.

JEANETTE WINTERSON

Sunday
Apr242016

Whom Are You Writing For?

It comes back to the question, whom are you writing for? Who are the readers you want? Who are the people you want to engage with the things that matter most to you? And for me, it's people who don't need it all spelled out because they know it, they understand it. That's why there's so much I can't read because I get so exasperated. Someone starts describing the character boarding the plane and pulling the seat back. And I just want to say, Babe, I have been downtown. I have been up in a plane. Give me some credit.

AMY HEMPEL

Saturday
Apr232016

The Power of the Written Word

Psychoanalysts in France, structuralists in the United States and France, conservative, liberal and left-wing thinkers in contemporary schools of linguistic philosophy agree about one thing; man became man not by the tool but by the Word. It is not walking upright and using a stick to dig for food or strike a blow that makes a human being, it is speech. And neither intelligent apes nor dolphins whispering marvels in the ocean share with us the ability to transform this direct communication into the written word, which sets up an endless chain of communication and commune between peoples and generations who will never meet.

NADINE GORDIMER

Friday
Apr222016

If You Want to Write, You Can

If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent, whatever that is. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me if I do? You’re a human being, with a unique story to tell, and you have every right. If you speak with passion, many of us will listen. We need stories to live, all of us. We live by story. Yours enlarges the circle.

RICHARD RHODES

Thursday
Apr212016

Writer's Block Is A Tool

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.

COLSON WHITEHEAD

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