Thursday, August 19, 2010

Topic: Writer's Block

Purpose of this blog: Reviews of interesting ideas in recent English education journals.

10-second review: The author suggests consulting quotes on writing, in order to get back to writing productively.

Title: “Writer’s Block? Get Back in Gear.” Noelle Sterne. The Writer (September 2010), 11-12.

Summary: One other piece of advice: Stop trying to make your first draft flawless.

Quote: “So if you’re hopelessly stymied, how can you get back into gear? Like I do, surround yourself with stirring reprimanding writing truths.”

Gives as examples Judge Louis Brandeis: “There is no good writing; there is only good rewriting.” Samuel Johnson: “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”

Comment: Here are some additional inspirational quotes on writing. RayS.

William Maxwell: “I don’t think writer’s block is anything more than a loss of confidence.” Plimpton, ed., The Writer’s Chapbook.

“…Sometimes you ask an author how his new book is coming along, and he tells you: ‘It’s finished—all I have to do now is write it.’ ” Gross, ed., Editors on Editing.

“Good Writing has an aliveness that keeps the reader reading from one paragraph to the next.” Zinsser, On Writing Well.

“The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.” Zinsser, On Writing Well.

“The act of writing has always been a method of clarification for me, a way of getting down to how I really feel about an issue, a decision, a place, a person.” Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

“One thing I found out early in the game was that there was no way I could simply walk up to that room after breakfast, think of something to write about and then just spit it out in four or five hours…. …had to settle on an  idea a week or so in advance and let it stew for a while. Browning, Notes from Turtle Creek.

Angus Wilson: “So many people have talked out to me books they would otherwise have written; once you have talked, the act of communication has been made. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

John Hersey: “Writing is a search for understanding.” Hull, ed., The Writer’s Book.

Ann Petry: “I have collected enough rejection slips for my short stories to paper four or five good-sized rooms.” Hull, ed., The Writer’s Book.

Jacques Barzun: “It is…important not to let the vigilant censor within freeze everything…that sudden stoppage due to the lack of the right word.” Hull, ed., The Writer’s Book.

“The reader is a person with an attention span of about twenty seconds…assailed on every side by forces competing for his time by newspapers and magazines, by television and radio and stereo, by his wife and children and pets, by his house and yard and all the gadgets that he has bought to keep them spruce, and by that most potent of competitors, sleep. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

And finally, Hemingway: “You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. Plimpton, ed., The Writer’s Chapbook.

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