COMMENTARY: The Secret Sauce

Sometimes, it’s not about the how-to’s of writing, but the how-to’s of believing.

What are some of your favorite (encouraging) quotes about writing?

Some quotes via our tumblr:

You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. — Danielle LaPorte

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. — Franz Kafka

The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth. — Ezra Pound

You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page. — Jodi Picoult

Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. — Ernest Hemingway

Passion is passion. It’s a sort of madness and possession of what you do or what you think. This is the difference of life: passion and commerce, which most of the people know as “P.C.” But people have just got “C” now instead of “P.” The only people that come to my mind in the last two years are Lee McQueen and John Galliano. Truly, truly … How do I say? Full of ideas. Full of the smell. They just had this incredible passion for what they did… — Manolo Blahnik

The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say. — Anaïs Nin

The work of writing brings replenishment even to the writer dealing with painful subjects or working out formal problems, and there are times when suffering’s only open path is through an immersion in what is. The eighteenth century Urdu poet Ghalib described the principle this way: “For the raindrop, joy is in entering the river—/Unbearable pain becomes its own cure.”

Difficulty then, whether of life or of craft, is not a hindrance to an artist. Sartre called genius “not a gift, but the way a person invents in desperate circumstances.” … Great art, we might say, is thought that has been concentrated in just this way: honed and shaped by a silky attention brought to bear on the recalcitrant matter of earth and of life. We seek in art the elusive intensity by which it knows. — Jane Hirshfield

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too. — Isabel Allende

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