On Writers and Writing

I read a quote lately that I have been pondering over. “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” (Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades) I’m not sure if I agree with this, but it led me to consider my own writing experience. I have always loved words, and have a poster on the wall of sheep, each of which are labeled with such things as noun or verb. The caption reads “Chief Word Herder,” which is how I think of myself.

I am currently working on what I hope will soon become a new blog on questions asked by Jesus, geared towards people who are willing to take a second look at Jesus the man and teacher, and not the one distorted by years of dogma. Some of it has indeed been challenging, trying to keep from falling into habits of using words bandied about freely by Christians, which are pejorative to those outside the church walls, as well as bringing twentieth first century understanding to the stories.

So I see several things going on as I write. On one shoulder sits my inner Grammar Nazi, correcting me when I use words wrongly. On another sits the Clarity Fairy, trying to tell me when I say things unclearly. A very busy little being. On another (some of these must share shoulders) is the Dogma Imp, pointing out when I slip into church language. On another is the Audience Sprite, reminding who I am writing for. And finally is the Topic Nymph, who reminds me when I drift off into something interesting to me which has nothing to do with the subject at hand. In addition, I have two beings who are always there, one whispering, “Hey, this isn’t bad,” and the other, “This is terrible. No one will want to read it.”

Here are some of my favorite quotes about Writers and Writing


At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then–and only then–it is handed to you.–Annie Dillard (The Writing Life)

At its heartmeat core, writing is about exploring the questions of your heart on the assumption that what intrigues you, what inflames or amuses or ennobles you, will have the same effect on someone else. It’s about taking chances, and taking risks, and pushing yourself to be honest in the issues that present themselves.–J. Michael Straczynski

Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.–Neil Gaiman

The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.–Robert Louis Stevenson

For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.–Ernest Hemingway

Hard writing makes easy reading.–Wallace Stegner (Crossing To Safety)

I have always wanted to write in such a way that will make people think, “Why, I’ve always thought that but never found the words for it.”–Pamela Hansford Johnson

The secret of good writing is telling the truth.–Gordon Lish

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.–Gene Fowler

Find nearly 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at http://www.quotelady.com.

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