Monday, February 29, 2016

As a Writer, Don't Worry Too Much About the First Draft

The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.

Robert Cormier 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Charles Bukowski on Literary Prizes and Grants

Guggenheim, all those prizes and grants--you know how they go--most money is given to people who already have money. I know a professor who can't write but wins a prize every year--usually the same one--and he goes off to some island and works on some project, meanwhile still getting paid half salary for doing nothing at the university he's supposed to be teaching at.

Charles Bukowski

Friday, February 26, 2016

What is Literary Style?

Style is an author's choice of words (diction), arrangement of words in each sentence (syntax), and handling of sentences and paragraph units to achieve a specific effect.

David Madden

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Philosopher Novelist

I am a philosopher, I write novels only on the weekend.

Umberto Eco

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Writer Without a Literary Hero to Inspire Him

I am not so worried about whether I am writing any good or not; I know I write a valley of bad stuff. But what gets me is that nobody is coming on that I can believe in or look up to. It's hell not to have a hero.

Charles Bukowski 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Novelist Suffering For His Art

Sometimes I don't understand why my arms don't drop from my body with fatigue, why my brain doesn't melt away. I am leading an austere life, stripped of all external pleasure, and am sustained only by a kind of permanent frenzy, which sometimes makes me weep tears of impotence but never abates, I love my work with a love that is frantic and perverted, as an ascetic loves the hair shirt that scratches his belly.

Gustave Flaubert 

Monday, February 22, 2016

When Not To Write

Never, never at night. I don't believe in writing at night because it comes too easily. When I read it in the morning it's not good. I need daylight to begin.

Gunter Grass

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Harper Lee On Her Bestselling Classic Novel

I never expected any success with To Kill a Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of reviewers, but, at the same time I sort of hoped someone would like it well enough to give me encouragement.

Harper Lee 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Writing Three Hours a Day Is Enough For One Novelist

All those I think who have lived as literary men--working daily as literary laborers--will agree with me that three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write.

Anthony Trollope 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Finding the Strength To Write a Novel

[To complete a novel] physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.

Haruki Murakami 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Night Writer

I never work [write] in the mornings unless I'm in real trouble.

Tom Stoppard 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Henry Miller's Writing Secrets

I don't believe in draining the reservoir. I believe in getting up from the typewriter, away from it, while I still have things to say. I know that to sustain those true moments of insight one has to be highly disciplined, lead a disciplined life.

Henry Miller 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Boswell's Self-Motivation to Write

As soon as I am awake, I remember my duty, and like a brisk mariner I give lash to indolence and bounce up with as much vivacity as if a pretty girl, amorous and willing, were waiting for me.

James Boswell 

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Writing of "Ulysses"

All in all I calculate that I must have spent nearly 20,000 hours in writing Ulysses.

James Joyce

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Getting Away to Write

I write whenever I am able, for a few days or a week or a month if I can get the time. I sneak away to the country and work on a computer that's not connected to the Internet and count on the world to go away long enough for me to get a few words down on paper, whenever and however I can. When the writing is going well, I can work all day. When it's not, I spend a lot of time gardening and standing in front of the refrigerator.

Francine Prose 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Spare Time Writer

I was brought up to think you had to have a day job, and write in your spare time.

Philip Larkin

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Depressed Writer

I shall always be depressed, but what comforts me is the realization that I can now accept this dark side as the commanding side of my personality. In accepting it, I will make it work for me.

Samuel Beckett 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

An Almost Permanent Case of Writer's Block

I really don't adhere to writing schedules at all. The times that I've tried that, when I have been in a slump and I try to get out of it by saying, "Come on, Ann, sit down at the typewriter," I've gotten in a worse slump. It's better if I just let it ride. I've learned I can't force it. I certainly am a moody and, I would say, not very happy person.

Ann Beattie 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How "Catch-22" Was Written

I spent two or three hours a night on it for eight years. I gave up once and started watching television with my wife. Television drove me back to Catch-22. I couldn't imagine what Americans did at night when they weren't writing novels.

Joseph Heller 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Truman Capote: The "Horizontal" Writer

I am a completely horizontal writer. I can't think unless I'm lying down, either in bed or stretched out on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I've got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis.

Truman Capote 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Flaubert's Self Loathing: Get a Grip

Sometimes, when I am empty, when words don't come, when I find I haven't written a single sentence after scribbling whole pages, I collapse on my couch and lie their dazed, bogged down in a swamp of despair, hating myself. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

One Novelist's Life Habits

My habits are simple, my tastes banal, soccer matches on the TV, an occasional cup of wine or a gulp of canned beer, sunbaths on the lawn, and composing chess problems.

Vladimir Nabokov 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Self-Disciplined Novelist

Someone once called me a bureaucrat among writers because my self-discipline seemed excessive. It seemed excessive to me, too.

Saul Bellow

Friday, February 5, 2016

F. Scott Fitzgerald And His Booze

It has become increasingly plain to me that the very excellent organization of a long novel or the finest perceptions and judgment in time of revision do not go well with liquor.

F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tolstoy's Work Habits

I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine.

Leo Tolstoy 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Difficulty of Writing in a Plain, Clear Style

Last night I began my novel [Madame Bovary]. Now I foresee terrifying difficulties of style. It's no easy business to be simple.

Gustave Flaubert