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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

Composing Yourself | #AdviceToWriters

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Composition is a Discipline

Composition is a discipline; it forces us to think. If you want to “get in touch with your feelings,” fine—talk to yourself; we all do. But, if you want to communicate with another thinking human being, get in touch with your thoughts. Put them in order; give them a purpose; use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce. The secret way to do this is to write it down and then cut out the confusing parts.

WILLIAM SAFIRE

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Thought and Therapy | #AdviceToWriters

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Confront the Dark Parts of Yourself

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.

AUGUST WILSON

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To Whom This May Concern | #AdviceToWriters

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Whom Are You Writing For? 

It comes back to the question, whom are you writing for? Who are the readers you want? Who are the people you want to engage with the things that matter most to you? And for me, it’s people who don’t need it all spelled out because they know it, they understand it. That’s why there’s so much I can’t read because I get so exasperated. Someone starts describing the character boarding the plane and pulling the seat back. And I just want to say, Babe, I have been downtown. I have been up in a plane. Give me some credit.

AMY HEMPEL

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Courage is Required | #AdviceToWriters

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You Must Have Discipline You Must Have Discipline

You must have discipline for writing. It is not an easy task. It is very lonely. You’re all alone. You are not in company. You are not enjoying yourself in that sense. You are enjoying yourself in another sense. You are delving into your depths, but you are profoundly lonely. It is one of the loneliest careers in the world. In the theater, you are with companions, with directors, actors. In film. In an office. In writing, you are alone. That takes a lot of strength and a lot of will to do it.

CARLOS FUENTES

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*Painting by MICHAEL DUMONTIER AND NEIL FARBER

Fool (Me) | #AdviceToWriters

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Don’t Be Afraid to Be Foolish

Try to be original in your play and as clever as possible; but don’t be afraid to show yourself to be foolish; we must have freedom of thinking, and only he is an emancipated thinker who is not afraid to write foolish things.

ANTON CHEKHOV

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*Photograph via LIFE Magazine.

Language | #AdviceToWriters

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One Must Avoid Ambition in Order to Write

One must avoid ambition in order to write. Otherwise something else is the goal: some kind of power beyond the power of language. And the power of language, it seems to me, is the only kind of power a writer is entitled to.

CYNTHIA OZICK

Balancing Act | #AdviceToWriters

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All Writing Slants the Way a Writer Leans

I have yet to see a piece of writing, political or nonpolitical, that doesn’t have a slant. All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular, although many men are born upright.

E.B. WHITE

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Semantics | Advice to Writers

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The Hardest Thing About Writing Is Not Writing

The hardest thing about writing, in a sense, is not writing. I mean, the sentence is not intended to show you off, you know. It is not supposed to be “look at me!” “Look, no hands!” It’s supposed to be a pipeline between the reader and you. One condition of the sentence is to write so well that no one notices that you’re writing.

 JAMES BALDWIN

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Just the way I like it | World Poetry Day

To the writers, poets, artists, creatives and everyone in-between.

#WorldPoetryDay

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Further reading (via The Guardian):  The medium is the message – the power of public poetry

Are You Experienced? | Advice to Writers

 

You Are On the Lookout for Experience

You are on the look out for experience, strength, and hope. You want to hear from the horse’s mouth exactly how disappointments have been survived. It helps to know that the greats have had hard times too and that your own hard times merely make you part of the club.

JULIA CAMERON

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