Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Making of a Book

"The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book."

~ Samuel Johnson

(Note, this quote was sent to me by my friend Ocienanna. Thanks O!)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Catch that Thought

Gifts of rich lore surround us all. While others seem to observe these offerings on occasion and by chance, noticing and then letting them go, I make the hearing and recording of them my mission as a writer, and a key invitation to writing students. Dreams get away if we don’t tell them, or write them down. Thoughts do the same. The writer’s greatest chance may be devotion to the passing fragment. It is small, but it is pure, and it may hold a compact infinity. You heard it for a reason.

--Kim Stafford, The Muses Among Us, 26

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Providing Hope

Someone once asked me what I sell the most of. My response was “Hope.” And it’s still true. Agents do sell hope to writers and to publishers. Agents, like editors, are optimists. Every day, when the mail hits the desk in our mailroom, we sort through it with hope. Yes, we hope for big checks. But we also hope for salable books, for authors who will deliver wonderful books every year that continue to sell every year.

--Publishing as a Circus, by Elizabeth Pomada, from the book Making the Perfect Pitch by Katharine Sands, p. 248

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Pull Me

The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.

~Raymond Chandler

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Bait

“Every reader who picks up a piece of writing is starting out on a journey. Unlike most travelers, however, he is entirely dependent on someone else to tell him why he is going, where he is going, and how he is going to get there . . . If [the writer] has ever had to make his living by putting one word after another on a piece of paper, he knows that it is helpful to make his writing correct, gratifying to make it stylistically pleasing, profitable to make it interesting, but absolutely mandatory to make it clear and sequential. He knows that of all the timid creatures of the deep forest, the reader is the timidest, the most likely to sniff the bait from about a hundred yards away and then disappear. If the bait (the first sentence) is not outstandingly toothsome, if the next little bite is not hooked to it, and the next to that, and so on until the doors of the trap (the conclusion) snap shut on the furry little creature (the . . . reader, of course), the hunter may as well give up hunting and become a supervisor or a top administrator. Best of all, he can become a teacher of writing.”

--Dr. Calvin D. Linton, Effective Revenue Writing

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Birth

“That writer does the most for us who brings to our attention thoughts that lay close to our minds waiting to be acknowledged as our own. Such a man acts as a midwife to assist at the birth of ideas that had been gestating long within our souls, but which without his help might not have been born at all.”

—A.W. Tozer, Man the Dwelling Place of God, p. 149

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Writing is like falling in love . . .

Writing is like falling in love in that we know it happens but no one is quite sure how it happens. Writing can be learned, but only the hard way, by doing it. You must make your own mistakes, learn what you can from them, then plunge on to make more mistakes.

If you go about this properly, both in falling in love and in writing, you won’t make the same mistake more than three times and your new mistakes will be bigger and better than your old ones and you will learn more from them.

--Gene Olson, Sweet Agony: A Writing Manual of Sorts

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Speaking to Our Generation

The messenger of Christ, though he speaks from God, must also, as the Quakers used to say, "speak to the condition" of his hearers; otherwise he will speak a language known only to himself. His message must be not only timeless but timely. He must speak to his own generation.

A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy