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“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” ― Frida Kahlo

Category: Advice to Writers

Digging Deep | #AdviceToWriters

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Writing Is Hard for Every Last One of Us

Writing is hard for every last one of us…. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.

CHERYL STRAYED

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Pillow Talk | #AdviceToWriters

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“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
― Winston S. Churchill

Fancy You Should Say That | #AdviceToWriters

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We Fret About Words

We fret about words, we writers. Words mean. Words point. They are arrows. Arrows stuck in the rough hide of reality. And the more portentous, more general the word, the more they can also resemble rooms or tunnels. They can expand, or cave in. They can come to be filled with a bad smell. They will often remind us of other rooms, where we’d rather dwell or where we think we are already living. They can be spaces we lose the art or the wisdom of inhabiting. And eventually those volumes of mental intention we no longer know how to inhabit will be abandoned, boarded up, closed down.

SUSAN SONTAG

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How You Doin’? | #AdviceToWriters

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*artwork by Mrzyk & Moriceau.

The First Job Is To Entertain

A writer may have a message, an emotion, a philosophy to impart in his fiction, and these are the most marvelous kind of serendipity. But his first job is to entertain. To inform comes second. To entertain comes first.

HARLAN ELLISON

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Leaning In | #AdviceToWriters

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You Have to Listen to Everyone 

From my childhood, I remember talking to people, and the stories they told me were more interesting than what’s in books. People tell me extraordinary things, and I realize that there is nothing in the world about which we know anything for sure. Each person screams out his or her truth. You have to listen to everyone. As an artist, you have to listen to both the executioner and the victim.

SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH

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To be faithful, to be fruitful… | #AdviceToWriters

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Be Faithful To Your Perceptions

It’s not that you get a cliché and then wiggle it about or use synonyms. You don’t take an ordinary decorative paragraph and give it style. What you’re trying to do is be faithful to your perceptions and transmit them as faithfully as you can. I say these sentences until they sound right. There’s no objective reason why they’re right. They just sound right to me.

MARTIN AMIS

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The ‘Me’ In Meaning | #AdviceToWriters

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Words Are But Vague Shadows

Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean.  Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.

THEODORE DREISER

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Notice Me? | #AdviceToWriters

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You Get Ideas All the Time

 

You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.

NEIL GAIMAN

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Please (Me) | #AdviceToWriters

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The Secret of Short-Story Writing

I’ll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is:

Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2.

The technical points you can get from Bliss Perry. If you can’t write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public.

O. HENRY

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Too Busy…

 

 

 

Perhaps the most vital things for the writer to describe, Baldwin argues, are the habitual ways in which we imprison ourselves and relinquish our own freedom.

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“Something that irritates you and won’t let you go. That’s the anguish of it. Do this book, or die. You have to go through that. Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.”

James Baldwin