Category Archives: Quotes

Emotional Autobiography (2.0)

Tennessee Williams Quote.pngGreat post by Scott W. Smith over at Screenwriting from Iowa and Other Unlikely Places. Can we truly writing from any other place but our own experiences? I don’t mean the same circumstances but the experience of our emotional journeys to find self. There we pull so much wealth. Pull the pain, the joy and mostly the confusion of what and who we are.

Screenwriting from Iowa

“My work is emotionally autobiographical. It has no relationship to the actual events of my life, but it reflects the emotional currents of my life. I try to work every day, because you have no refuge but writing. When you’re going through a period of unhappiness, a broken love affair, the death of someone you love, or some other disorder in your life, then you have no refuge but writing.”
Tennessee Williams

I found the above quote this week and knew it was the missing piece to a post I wrote a few years ago on emotional autobiography;

“Tennessee Williams observed, even works of demonstrable fiction or fantasy remain emotionally autobiographical.”
David Bayles & Ted Orland
Art & Fear

“Principle  1: Whenever writers sit down before blank paper or glowing green (or amber) phosphor, their personal story is all they can write.”
Richard Walter
The Whole Picture

In Richard Walter’s…

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The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing: #7 – Lust

7 Deadly Sins of Writing-Sin7

Dang, the last sin…we were having so much fun with these!

Lust? Really, you’re relating lust to writing, David?

I don’t think it’s a stretch. Originally, I wrote the definition as, “When writing becomes an idol and you want success above everything else…”  The word lust alone can be controversial enough, not to mention the word idol. How do we define idol? The Free Dictionary defines it a number of ways: 1) an image used as an object of worship. 2) a false god 3) one that is adored, often blindly or excessively, and 4) something visible but without substance. Yup, that pretty much sums it up. Read some of those key words again: false, blindly, excessively and without substance. If your writing relates to any of these words, stop and reassess.

And to me, lust is the unfortunate state in which we replace a true love with something more superficial and self gratifying (hmmm…sounds like idol worship, huh?). It truly is the opposite of a healthy love for someone or something.

I wanna get, get, GET…not give!

So, let me ask you a question: Why did you start writing in the first place? Was it to make money? Was it for fame? I doubt it. I bet  your motivations were a bit more pure than that. Now, I’m not saying that money or fame are wrong; they just may not be the best motivations for producing your best work.

Or is it safe to say your initial motivations were for the simple joy of telling stories, creating interesting worlds from your imagination, playing with the words and enjoying their sound when read from the paper? At least one of those reasons, I bet.

Go find your first love of writing again, have fun, and you’ll probably begin to see some of your best work!

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The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing: #6 – Wrath

7 Deadly Sins of Writing-Sin6

Wrath is a bit archaic, I know. It means anger. The type of anger that gets out of control and has the potential to hurt others. As writers we want to give to others not take, right? I see this not always being outright, scream-in-your-face anger but a more subtle form of resentment even. It doesn’t take much to start blaming others for your lack of success, however you define it. Maybe your closest friends and family aren’t supportive of your desire to write and–God forbid!–want to have your book published. Don’t worry you’re not alone; we’ve all experienced it. But, ultimately, you can’t be a victim, right dear? It’s up to you to get the writing done. Shut up and write!

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Quote: Time and Writing #1 (Achievable Goals)

One of the most inspiring quotes I’ve heard in a while related to writing-time continuum.

Screenwriting from Iowa

“When I first started to write novels while running a magazine, I told myself that I would only write for 15 minutes a day. I knew that working for a short amount of time was an achievable goal, and I managed to get 10 books written just this way.”
Kate White
Former editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine
Quoted in Real Simple magazine/ January 2013
page 49

P.S. On a similar note author/speaker Tim Ferris (The Four-Hour Workweek) says his goal is to just write, “Two crappy pages a day.”

Scott W. Smith

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Quote: Motivations #2

MP900316894[1]I was wrong. I’ll admit it. Don’t pressure me, man! 

Remember that post of mine from ages ago when I talked about things like art and truth? You know the one: back when I was young, foolish—impetuous. Oh, that was just last week? Last week? If you haven’t read it, do so now: Can Good Stories Be More Than Entertainment?

This quote is good. Serious good. (Does this woman always have the best quotes, or what? Ah, yeah. She’s on Hallmark cards, of course.)

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” ― Maya Angelou

While not wrong, I felt rebuked…slightly. The quote made me think again my motivations. (Who am I kidding: I’m always thinking of my motivations.) Pulling art, writing, or whatever from the well of love always produces the best result.

From love.

For love.

In love.

Why do you write? Do it for love.

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