1. "People always look for excuses. My favorite one is, “Well that’s easy for you because you have a really popular blog.” As if my really popular blog was something I won in the lottery. I had a really unpopular blog for three years in a row where 10 or 20 people were reading it. When I got started in the book business, I received 900 rejection letters. So you don’t look at the end result — at the Richard Bransons and Maria Popovas — and say, “Well they have that thing that I don’t.” They got that thing by showing up. I am really focused on helping people understand that not showing up is a failure of will more than it is a failure of birth."
    — 

    Excerpt from an interview with Seth Godin in the 10th anniversary issue of the wonderful Australian creative culture magazine Dumbo Feather

    As Tchaikovsky put it, “A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.” Or, per Isabel Allende, “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”

    More on the role of showing up in creative work here

    Also see Godin on vulnerability and how to dance with the fear of failure

    (via explore-blog)

    I’m occasionally baffled when young writers ask me for advice, and I give it, and then I see comments that say that none of my advice applies because I’m a best-selling author. As if I had spent my whole life as a best-selling author, and had never been anything else…

    (via neil-gaiman)

    (via agreyeyedgirl)

     

  2. 4kidztv said: I am an aspiring author who's been published in some small-scale stuff. I think it's about time I moved my way up into larger publications, but I have an issue: The forced politeness between authors, especially on the Internet. They refuse to criticize one another, even when it could help them! I'm building myself up to hopefully one day be a part of that community, but I take issue with this. Kurt Vonnegut, my hero, said good authors were rude. Is etiquette > integrity in your community?

    maggie-stiefvater:

    heatherwpetty:

    maggie-stiefvater:

    I’m not sure I understand the question. I’ve never felt forced into politeness. Are you thinking of my post last night, when I wouldn’t name the book I didn’t care for? Because I do that out of a knowledge that taste in books is subjective. I fall in love with novels very rarely, making my lack of enthusiastic recommendation quite meaningless. 

    This is the part of your question I’m struggling with, though: how could criticizing another author help me?

    Integrity is integrity, at least in my community, which is the community-of-authors-who-write-books-with-magic-in-them-whenever-not-in-an-over-powered-vehicle-or-frolicking-with-their-herds-of-miniature-silky-fainting-goats-or-playing-the-Irish-pipes.

    It’s a pretty rarified community. Mileage may vary in other authorial communities.

    Authors don’t (often) publicly criticize each other because we’ve all seen what happens when authors do criticize each other. It just becomes this Thing that lands everyone in Dramaville, population: gross. While entertaining to the public and click-bait for The Guardian, I’m not sure that helps anyone improve their craft.

    Criticism isn’t the same as critique. And authors do critique each other, usually just not publicly. We critique prior to publication, in small trusted groups, late at night, surrounded by snacks and red pens and post-its (Or…you know, Word’s Review tools, on account of the digital age). You may not see it in public, but it is happening. And unlike criticism, critique is actually helpful. 


    This.

     

  3. "Writers don’t write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don’t. …If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy."
    — Nikki Giovanni (via writersrelief)

    (via maryrobinette)

     

  4. "Writing the breakout novel demands a commitment to life. How can you engage readers in your fictional world if you, the author, are not engaged by your own world? To write about life, you must live it. You cannot make readers cry or feel joy until you have wept and exulted yourself."
     

  5. maggie-stiefvater:

    I used to think that my ideal job was to write. To make up stories. To lie for a living. Now that I’m in it, though, now that I’m comfortable in my novelist skin, it doesn’t feel that way at all. I observe for a living. I steal for a living. I stylize for a living. I find things in the real…

     

  6. maggie-stiefvater:

    I keep getting asked if you need a degree to be a writer. No, you need an EDUCATION, and a degree is just one example of that.

    (And you must keep self-educating. This does not mean always going back for a new degree, though some go down that path…)

     

  7. "If you only write when inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist."
    — 

    Neil Gaiman (via thatlitsite)

    While I get the point behind this re novelists, and totally agree, I actually take a issue with the idea that poets can become good by only writing when inspired. The best poets I’ve talked to (and I’ve met quite a few awesome poets, including a couple U.S. Poet Laureates, through my day job) write pretty much the same way novelists do: working even when inspiration feels far off, revising and revising and revising, putting down words even when they don’t feel inspired, because at least then you’ll have something to work with. 

    *minor nitpick of the morning*

    (via eilisoneal)

    Yeah, but “fairly decent” differs from “professional literary figure”, too.

    I often am just that type of poet, because writing other stuff takes up my time. I’d like to be more dedicated, and when I do disciplined poem-a-day stuff it works wonders, but I think my usual level is exactly what he’s talking about…

    Not to argue, just to say I totally feel what he’s trying to say there. And I wish to escape it XD

    (via eilisoneal)

     

  8. ninjaeyecandy:

    foxalpha:

    falstafff:

    i don’t understand why people don’t instantly respond to “what would your dream superpower be” with the ability to manipulate probability.
    think about it. what’s the chance someone will drop 1mil in front of me? 0%? let’s make that 100%. what’s the probability i’ll wake up tomorrow and be X gender? 100%. what’s the probability my bathtub is filled with mac and cheese? 100%.

    as a casino employee I can confirm this would be terrifying as fuck

    I wrote a character with this ability once and it was SO MUCH FUN.

    (His coworkers still hadn’t learned not to bet against him, even though he warned them it was a bad idea…)

    I’m trying to remember the story I’ve read that had that element, but anyway, yes.

    There are certain “lucky” people already who know how to game probabilities, they’d be terrifying with this sort of power.

     

  9. "Most writers were the kids who easily, almost automatically, got A’s in English class. (There are exceptions, but they often also seem to be exceptions to the general writerly habit of putting off writing as long as possible.) At an early age, when grammar school teachers were struggling to inculcate the lesson that effort was the main key to success in school, these future scribblers gave the obvious lie to this assertion. Where others read haltingly, they were plowing two grades ahead in the reading workbooks. These are the kids who turned in a completed YA novel for their fifth-grade project. It isn’t that they never failed, but at a very early age, they didn’t have to fail much; their natural talents kept them at the head of the class.

    This teaches a very bad, very false lesson: that success in work mostly depends on natural talent. Unfortunately, when you are a professional writer, you are competing with all the other kids who were at the top of their English classes. Your stuff may not—indeed, probably won’t—be the best anymore.

    If you’ve spent most of your life cruising ahead on natural ability, doing what came easily and quickly, every word you write becomes a test of just how much ability you have, every article a referendum on how good a writer you are. As long as you have not written that article, that speech, that novel, it could still be good. Before you take to the keys, you are Proust and Oscar Wilde and George Orwell all rolled up into one delicious package. By the time you’re finished, you’re more like one of those 1940’s pulp hacks who strung hundred-page paragraphs together with semicolons because it was too much effort to figure out where the sentence should end."
    — 

    Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators - Megan McArdle - The Atlantic

    The Why Writing Is So Hard field of psychology is very interesting to me.

    (via amyelizabeth)

    gpoy. fuck “natural talent” in its eyeball. 

    (via ilikelookingatnakedmen)

    I had natural talent. And I am the worst procrastinator. Fortunately, there are Deadlines.

    (via ellenkushner)

    I think I’d read this before, but this part just grabbed me:

    “The kids who race ahead in the readers without much supervision get praised for being smart,” says Dweck. “What are they learning? They’re learning that being smart is not about overcoming tough challenges. It’s about finding work easy. When they get to college or graduate school and it starts being hard, they don’t necessarily know how to deal with that.”

    That was me, through and through, and I’m not even a millenial.

    (via roane72)

    “The kids who race ahead in the readers without much supervision get praised for being smart,” says Dweck. “What are they learning? They’re learning that being smart is not about overcoming tough challenges. It’s about finding work easy.”

    ::sighs in recognition::

    Talent is not enough. You have to put in the work, too.

    (via gothiccharmschool)

    This. This thing was my best kick in the pants at the Viable Paradise workshop.

    Not that anyone said that specifically to me. But I met writers and editors who were just real people, and then was told “write more shorts, you don’t understand structure very well” and also was told “this is a fun concept, right up my alley, I would totally read this”

    I was not some young prodigy for cranking out 12 novels before 21, I was a professional who would be judged by the rest of the world’s literature and I didn’t measure up yet, but I was able to get there.

    (Source: brutereason, via ninjaeyecandy)

     
  10. eloquentasfuck:

    inbetweenthelineart:

    I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS GIF SET EVER SINCE I GOT ON TUMBLR

    The correct response to “so you hate men?”

    Mary Poppins is a great example of fiction where each character is a hero in their own mental story…

    Which is even more rare in Hollywood than in books.

    (Source: ilikeubuturcrazy, via bettyfelon)