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'Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.'

'Some novels known as the greatest works of literature are crime novels, and some crime novels are great works of literature.'

'Writing isn't like math; in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything.'

'I only write when I'm inspired, so I see to it that I'm inspired every morning at nine o'clock.'

'Maybe I should say that memory interests me a great deal, because I think we all tell stories of our lives to ourselves as well as to other people. Well, women do, anyway. Women do this a lot. And I think when men get older, they do this too, but maybe in slightly different terms.'

'The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.'

‘I never really think of children when I do my books. Babar was my friend and I invented stories with him, but not with kids in a corner of my mind. I write it for myself.'

'Beginning a novel is always hard. It feels like going nowhere. I always have to write at least 100 pages that go into the trashcan before it finally begins to work. It's discouraging, but necessary to write those pages. I try to consider them pages -100 to zero of the novel.'

'I was trained by poetry where you can just write ambience and atmosphere. But in a novel, if there's not a story that people are interested in, with characters that they care about, they'll close the book.' 

'The English language is an arsenal of weapons. If you are going to brandish them without checking to see whether or not they are loaded, you must expect to have them explode in your face from time to time.'

'The importance of developing a daily writing habit cannot be overstated. Even if you can only spare twenty minutes daily, consistent writing is the key to honing your skills, overcoming writer's block, and unlocking your creative potential.'

'You have to follow your own voice. You have to be yourself when you write. In effect, you have to announce, "This is me, this is what I stand for, this is what you get when you read me. I'm doing the best I can - buy me or not - but this is who I am as a writer."'

'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.'

'To achieve lasting literature, fictional or factual, a writer needs perceptive vision, absorptive capacity, and creative strength.'

'Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don't forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.'

'Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.'


'Your job is to make your novel the best of its kind that it can be.'

'A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.'

'[As a writer] you have to have the three D's: drive, discipline and desire. If you're missing any one of those three, you can have all the talent in the world, but it's going to be really hard to get anything done.'

'Every writer I know has trouble writing.'

'Part of writing a novel is being willing to leap into the blackness. You have very little idea, really, of what's going to happen. You have a broad sense, maybe, but it's this rash leap.'

‘For me it always starts with the characters, and I hope that the characters take me to the plot - that's the plan, anyhow. I just start with a few ideas and hope it works out. I suppose if having written 28 books has taught me anything, it's that it might work out in the end.'

'Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.'

'If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.'

'Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.'

‘Writing fiction is fun. Writing non-fiction is life-changing.'

'I don't know why I started writing. I don't know why anybody does it. Maybe they're bored, or failures at something else.'

‘There is no secret to success except hard work and getting something indefinable which we call "the breaks". In order for a writer to succeed, I suggest three things - read and write - and wait.'

'Language leads a double life - and so does the novelist. You chat with family and friends, you attend to your correspondence, you consult menus and shopping lists, you observe road signs, and so on. Then you enter your study, where language exists in quite another form - as the stuff of patterned artifice.'

'If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.'

'Being a writer in Hollywood is like going into Hitler's Eagle's Nest with a great idea for a Bar Mitzvah.'

'You reach deep down and bring up what feels absolutely authentic to you as you move along with the book, but you don't know everything about it. You can't.'

'Modesty is a virtue not often found among poets, for almost every one of them thinks himself the greatest in the world.'

'For those who can do it and who keep their nerve, writing for a living still beats most real, grown-up jobs hands down.'

'Writing is a strange synthesis between the two parts of your mind: the analytical side and the side that knows nothing at all, and you have to allow the dreaming side free rein.'

'One of the ridiculous aspects of being a poet is the huge gulf between how seriously we take ourselves and how generally we are ignored by everybody else.'

'By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.'

‘I cannot find any patience for those people who believe that you start writing when you sit down at your desk and pick up your pen and finish writing when you put down your pen again; a writer is always writing, seeing everything through a thin mist of words, fitting swift little descriptions to everything he sees, always noticing.'

'The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof lie detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.'

'Writing is a strange synthesis between the two parts of your mind: the analytical side and the side that knows nothing at all, and you have to allow the dreaming side free rein.'

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