I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.
– Shannon Hale, on Twitter


You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.
– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1994)


For me a poem often begins as a constellation of words coursing through my head like little electric shocks.
– Maggie Nelson, in this interview


It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.
– Robert Hass


Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
– Franz Kafka


If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
– Elmore Leonard


1. Find a subject you care about.
2. Do not ramble, though.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Have the guts to cut.
5. Sound like yourself.
6. Say what you mean to say.
7. Pity the readers.
– Kurt Vonnegut, quoted in Science Fictionisms (1995), compiled by William Rotsler


Even if you don’t believe in god or fate, at least you can believe in narrative.
– Richard Siken, Spork Press


Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
– George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” (1946)

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