Discover more from Writer Everlasting
Spare Me Your Writing Advice
Except these. These are fun.
I’m not above giving writers advice. Sometimes I even take it myself. But lordy, does it ever end? I mean, how much is too much and ends up never being taken because Okay! Enough already!??
So today I’m going to grab my ancient copy of Jon Winokur’s book of quotations called “Writers on Writing”and pull out some of the thoughts from famous writers that made me laugh out loud.
I could picture them being asked that age-old question, “What advice would you give new writers?’ and them shaking their heads and looking up at the sky before coming out with these gems I’m sharing with you today.
So here we go:
I think you must remember that a writer is a simple-minded person to begin with and go on that basis. He’s not a great mind, he’s not a great thinker, he’s not a great philosopher, he’s a storyteller. —Erskine Caldwell
Writers are always selling somebody out. —Joan Didion
I’m a lousy writer; a helluva lot of people have bad taste. —Grace Metalious
Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders. —Walter Bagehot
There are other writers who would persuade you not to go on, that everything is nonsense, that you should kill yourself. They, of course, go on to write another book while you have killed yourself. —John Gardner
Why has the South produced so many good writers? Because we got beat. —Walker Percy
Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself—it is the occurring which is difficult. —Stephen Leacock
Writing keeps me from believing everything I read. —Gloria Steinem
Getting even is one reason for writing. —William Gass
The number one reason any professional writer writes is to pay the bills. This isn’t the Lawn Tennis Association where you play just for the thrill of it. —Jimmy Breslin
If I could think, maybe I wouldn’t write. —Scott Spencer
Art for art’s sake makes no more sense than gin for gin’s sake. —W. Somerset Maugham
Remarks are not literature. —Gertrude Stein
I’ve written some poetry I don’t understand myself. —Carl Sandburg
The writers of free verse got their idea from incorrect proof pages. —Robert Frost
Only a person who is congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays. —E.B White
I like criticism but it must be my way. —Mark Twain
You write a hit play the same way you write a flop. —William Saroyan
Unless you think you can do better than Tolstoy, we don’t need you. —James Michener
Lay off the muses, it’s a very tough dollar. —S. J Perelman
The first draft of anything is shit. —Ernest Hemingway
You shouldn’t pay very much attention to anything writers say. They don’t know why they do what they do. They’re like good tennis players or good painters, who are just full of nonsense, pompous and embarrassing, or merely mistaken when they open their mouths. —John Barth
That was fun, right? If you liked it, I’ll do it again some time. Until then, I’ll leave you with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Stay at home in your mind. Don’t recite other people’s opinions . I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.
Published in 1986. Looks like it’s out of print. There are other books called ‘Writers on Writing’ but this one is a book of quotations ‘on the writer’s art’—more than 1500 of them.
Writer Everlasting is here for you and because of you. It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun otherwise. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please consider. If you’re a free subscriber, going paid is a mere $5 a month or $50 a year. But whatever you decide, I’m happy you’re here!