Monday, June 17, 2013

Random Thoughts From Writers

For years I've collected snippets and quotes from authors about writing. Here are a few of my favorites.

Samuel Johnson: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money."

Agatha Christie: "The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes."

Mark Twain on doing research: "Get your facts first, and then you can distort 'em as you please."

Ken Kesey (author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest): "I like being a famous writer. The problem is, every once in a while you have to write something."

Alan Jay Lerner (author of the screenplay Gigi): "A daydream I have often had about lyric writing... I am locked in a hotel room for three days working on a song. Suddenly the door opens and there stand all my closest friends. "One of them says, "What have you been doing in here for three days?" I reply, "Writing." One of them says, "What have you written?" I reply, "I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night, and still have begged for more." They look at each other hopelessly, call the appropriate medical authorities, and I am put away for the rest of my natural life."

Megan Daniel (author of Regency romances): "For any writer, however talented, to try writing the kind of book she doesn't enjoy and respect is cruel and unusual punishment -- and useless, besides."

Judith Krantz: "I'm so used to people saying, 'Now that you've made enough money with these bestsellers, isn't it time to write a really good book?' Now would anyone have said to Irving Berlin, 'You could write like Mozart if you tried,' or to Willie Nelson, 'It's time you wrote an opera'? They don't understand that I'm writing the best I can, each time."

Kurt Vonnegut: "This is the secret of good story-telling: to lie, but to keep the arithmetic sound."

Dr. Seuss, about And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street: "After the 23rd rejection, I found myself lugging the manuscript up Madison Avenue, headed for my apartment, where I was going to dump the damned thing in the incinerator. If I had been going up the EAST side of Madison Avenue, I would probably never have become a published author. But I happened to be lugging it up the WEST side of Madison Avenue when I bumped into a long-unseen college friend, Mike McClintock. Mike said, "What are you doing these days?" I said, "I'm an unsuccessful author of children's books. What are YOU doing these days?" And Mike said, "I am an editor of children's books. We're standing right in front of my office. Why don't we step inside?" Twenty minutes later I became a legitimate author with a contract, and since that day I have always made it a point to walk up the west side of Madison Avenue."

Alan Jay Lerner (author of My Fair Lady and Camelot): "In the end I have come to realize that I write not because it is what I do, but because it is what I am; not because it is how I make my living, but how I make my life."

Which of these comments resonates with you? 

For me, I have to admit: some days, I agree with Sam Johnson -- but on good days, that last comment from Alan Jay Lerner hits home.

1 comment:

  1. I so enjoy seeing these pithy quotations from successful writers. I especially liked the Dr. Seuss one. How fortuitous for millions of children that he walked west!