Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.
Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. … [Write] knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
It didn’t occur to me that my books would be widely read at all, and that enabled me to write anything I wanted to. And even once I realized that they were being read, I still wrote as if I were writing in secret. That’s how one has to write anyway — in secret.
Writing is really a way of thinking — not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet.
Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.
You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.
I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
When in the grip of creative inspiration, he painted nonstop, “in a dumb fury of work.”
A word after a word after a word is power.
Writing is a process, a journey into memory and the soul.
Perhaps it is just as well to be rash and foolish for a while. If writers were too wise, perhaps no books would get written at all. It might be better to ask yourself ‘Why?’ afterward than before. Anyway, the force of somewhere in space which commands you to write in the first place, gives you no choice. You take up the pen when you are told, and write what is commanded.”
We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better.
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.
Shortly after graduation from college, Franzen married his girlfriend, also an aspiring novelist, and the pair settled down to work in classic starving-artist fashion. They found an apartment outside Boston for $300 a month, stocked up on ten-pound bags of rice and enormous packages of frozen chicken, and allowed themselves to eat out only once a year, on their anniversary…five days a week, the couple wrote for eight hours a day, ate dinner, and then read for four or five more hours. “I was frantically driven,” Franzen said. “I got up after breakfast, sat down at the desk and worked till dark, basically.”