What do you think contributes most to the success and fame attained by legendary writers and authors across the globe? The answer is a disciplined mixture of both creativity and practice. The latter component actually works as a perfect foil to one’s creative impulses, leading to the achievement of perfection. A good writer will always know the importance of working at their craft on a regular basis.
If you are a writer who focuses on improvement and desires greater perfection, given below are seven extremely useful quotes that will provide ample fodder for thought and practice –
#1. “The first draft of anything is shit.” ~Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway didn’t create his path breaking novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ in a single day. Rather, it demanded intense discipline and constant editing. The first draft should not be your final write-up. Regardless of how great a writer you are, it demands focused editing, reworking and shaping to be considered as a complete piece of work. Legend goes that Hemingway reworked the manuscript of the above mentioned novel a staggering twenty seven times before finally submitting it for publication.
This goes to show that a minimum of three to four revisions are necessary for any writer. Consistent revision will definitely help you detect hidden errors, mistakes and unneeded content.
#2. “The true writer has nothing to say. What counts is the way he says it.” ~Alain Robbe-Grillet
This essentially refers to the very essence of good writing – presentation and unique perspectives. The way you present something is what distinguishes you as a better writer from the herd. True art always draws on universal themes and subjects but differs in the manner in which it showcases the same to the reader.
You should always strive for a unique style of your own (instead of copying someone else’s), one that allows you to give topics a new spin or twist that makes it refreshing or innovative in its own right.
#3. “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or tools to write.” ~Stephen King
A legendary novelist in the thriller and horror genres, Stephen King has a lesson for all those aspiring to be better writers with this valuable quote. A good writer is essentially a voracious reader, with a curious mind. It’s only by inculcating the habit of consistent reading that you will expose yourself to various thought processes, styles, perspectives and insights. On the flip side, developing this life-enriching habit also helps you increase your vocabulary and find yourself a wealth of ideas to build upon.
#4. “The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.” ~Joyce Carol Oates
Completing a written piece is simply not enough. You should go back to the very first sentence and see whether it matches in terms of theme, style, resonance and perspective of the piece of you’ve written. Often, a piece of work turns out to be very different than imagined once completed. This renders the opening and closing sections radically opposed to each other and does not augur well for the author of the work.
Revision is the key here and writers need to start from the very first sentence post completion to detect any lack of coherence and concurrence as far as writing style and themes are concerned.
#5. “The secret of good writing is telling the truth.” ~Gordon Lish
Another great inspirational quote for writers, this tells you about the importance of creating insightful, specific content without delving deep into fanciful creative excursions that only flatter to deceive. Accurate depictions of reality are the name of the game and are loved by audiences. Literary delusions are only temporary and have no connection whatsoever with life as it’s at a particular point of time.
So, what’s the takeaway for writers here? Stick to accuracy and specifics while eliminating fluff and fanciful content that dilutes the very essence of your theme. Mature audiences love work that gives them a specific picture rather than beating about the bush. In other words, creating art for only art’s sake will never work for the long haul.
#6. “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ~Jack Kerouac
Writers should aim at avoiding grandiose, over the top vocabulary that’s hard to decipher for the masses. It should be kept in mind that you’re writing for a multidimensional audience and your content should universally cater to every type of reader. Bombastic phrases and perplexing words are best avoided while adhering to a simple, unexaggerated writing style that’s comfortable to read and understand.
#7. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~Anton Chekhov
With the moon as a centrepiece, Russian powerhouse Anton Chekhov focuses on the universal writing concept, namely the importance of depiction of any animate or inanimate object, idea or emotion uniquely instead of laying it all out on paper. Direct delineation or telling as the common acronym goes, is not the hallmark of a skilled writer.
The skilled writer looks for ways to communicate uniquely to hook and intrigue the audience. Simply describing the moon here would be rather tame and uninteresting as opposed to the unique image provided by Chekhov which is designed to make the reader think, feel and experience the moon mesmerizingly. Thus, your descriptions should shoot for showcasing ideas in a distinctive manner rather than endeavouring to directly educating the audience about the same.
How did you like the quotations mentioned above? If you can think of more quotes targeted at better writing, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.