Words for Writers

Hello again! I’m knee deep in revisions, and so, of course, I’m trolling about online, wasting time. 🙂 During my virtual wanderings, I came across some words of wisdom for writers, and I wanted to share. Hope you enjoy these words as much as I did:

Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong wordsMark Twain

When men ask me how I know so much about men, they get a simple answer: everything I know about men, I learned from me.Anton Chekhov

There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder.Brian Aldiss

At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, training himself, in infinite patience, which is to try and to try until it comes right. He must train himself in ruthless intolerance–that is to throw away anything that is false no matter how much he might love that page or that paragraph. The most important thing is insight, that is to be–curiosity–to wonder, to mull, and to muse why it is that man does what he does, and if you have that, then I don’t think the talent makes much difference, whether you’ve got it or not.William Faulkner

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.- William Faulkner

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.- Rudyard Kipling

Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of a void, but out of chaos; the materials must in the first place be afforded; it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself.Mary Shelley


And because I so hope this is true:


The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows. David Foster Wallace


About kimlajevardi

I am a forty-something-year-old writer. I'm currently drafting my second book. I've also written short stories, poems, and some non-fiction over the last several years. My interest in writing formed during countless hours with my nose tucked in books. I may have even been clutching a novel as I was born. :)
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7 Responses to Words for Writers

  1. Gina says:

    These are great quotes to read! Nice post.

  2. T.F.Walsh says:

    I do the same thing when revising or editing… I so need to stop procrastinating:) I really enjoyed reading these… Mark Twain makes it sound easy…hehe

    • kimlajevardi says:

      Me too. The internet makes procrastination so easy. Gotta love Mark Twain. It’s easy after years and years of hard work and gallons of sweat. 🙂 Thanks for commenting, T.F.

  3. lexacain says:

    But I like self-consciousness and hip fatigue, why would I want to “eschew” them — and why is he using a dollar word instead of a nickel one? Self-conscious? I didn’t know who David Foster Wallace was but he smelled like ivory towers. Then I looked him up. Professor. Uh-huh. I’m glad you got something from his opinions though. Inspiration isn’t easy to find, although you can have a lot of fun surfing the net and looking for it! 🙂

    • kimlajevardi says:

      Definitely an Ivy tower sort, but I loved thinking that we’d move away from shock, disgust, and outrage. So much of modern entertainment and literature embraces the darkest side of humanity for its ability to stand out in a sea of voices, but it can degrade otherwise great stories. An example of this is “Sharp Objects”. In our discussions about it, I commented on how good Flynn’s writing really is, but in making the protagonist so shocking and her decision making so bad, some of the effect on the reader, or at least me, is one of disgust and horror. Too bad too because there was a great story beneath the surface, but the flamethrower approach tore that to shreds. And it’s this part of his words that spoke to me. Thanks for commenting, Lex!

  4. Pingback: Words for Writers | kimlajevardi

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