Talent and the sheer determination to see it through are on my mind today. There are talented individuals around the globe. Most of them have never been published. Some of them don't care. Others do. A lot.
It's a common theme among the writerly folk I know. Submissions, rejections, fear, self-doubt, self-loathing, a little jealously from time-to-time, wounded pride -- they are all part of the package deal.
Many of us monitor the musings of rock-star literary agents as if their words are golden. In truth, they are. At least if we want to be published the old-fashioned way.
In today's post, I decided I would share some of my favorite quotes. Some of them feel like a kick to the gut. Others lift me up until I am floating. I think it's healthy to have an equal measure of each. Dreams with some reality mixed in to keep me from flying off into outer space.
I hope you find some of these useful.
People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character - Ralph Waldo Emerson
You are what you say most often. Really.
If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary - Jim Rohn
Be courageous, or make peace with banal work.
“It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” - Henry Ford
Even the dull and unschooled get published. You know it, and I know it. Combine talent with determination, and you will produce fruit. Maybe your grape isn’t the orange that you wanted, but grapes make better wine -- in time.
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S. Thompson
Don't try to be anyone other than who you are. If you're a freak, dig on it and let 'er rip. If you're not a freak, don't pretend that you are. Everyone will know, and that beautiful authenticity that is uniquely yours will be lost.
"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." - Anaïs Nin
Good writers are able to see the ordinary in a way that few can. They daydream, see animal shapes growing in the kudzu and assign convincing personalities to inanimate objects. They asses a problematic situation and offer a solution that no one thought of (or was courageous enough to write about!) before.The trick, with all this creativity and determination, is also having the ability to explain those discoveries to others and have them really get it.
"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." - Sylvia Plath
Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re a bad writer. Unless you really are. In that case, find out what you're doing wrong, listen when others offer constructive criticism, work even harder and don’t give up. Being offended by criticism is pointless, unless the other person is being downright mean. In that case, kick him in the shins, tell him he's a jerk and then get back to work.
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." - Anton Chekhov
After hearing “Show, don’t tell” a hundred thousand times, it eventually sinks in. A dull read tells you that a car is driving down the road. An engaging one dares you to experience the chugging motor that vibrates the foot on the gas pedal, the maddening patter of the rain on the windshield and the uncomfortable pinch of the seatblelt.
"If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster." - Isaac Asimov
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, face it -- you are a writer. You’re not a person who writes. You’re a blood-and-bone writer. You are one of an enviable lot.
"Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it." - George Santayana
And if you don’t like any of these quotes, just hang on for a bit. Others will come along in a minute to support the opposite theories in an effective manner.
Be bold. Be courageous. Be diligent.
Now, go forth and be brilliant! *Muah! XO