I’ve been researching authors, famous and not-so, to try to expand my own styles and writing methods, and I’ve noticed something; they really love their quotes! Or maybe they are just rather good with words (funny, that!) and we, the adoring public, love to stick what they have said inside speech marks and use them as inspirational memes on facebook/Pinterest/Instagram.
In my web-trawling I came across some cracking quotes from heavyweight authors that ring particularly true for me:
“To thine own self be true” – William Shakespeare
This one is true on just about any level you can think of, including writing and publishing your own books. I can’t imagine trying to write a self-help guide to acupuncture, a political thriller, or a steamy romance. I firmly believe you should stick to what you know, or the reader will know you are writing outside your bubble of knowledge and expertise. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think writing a book should ever be formulaic or safe; you should certainly push yourself each and every day, as I believe it gives your words an edge, but push yourself too far and you risk losing the natural writing rhythm that is essential for good work.
Straight roads do not make skilful drivers” – Paulo Coelho
This ties in to my thoughts on the previous quote. Unless you take the windy road, unless you push yourself, you will never excel. Straight roads are the garden-variety, vanilla stories.
“Everything is generated through your own will power” – Ray Bradbury
This is never truer than when a self-employed writer tries to self-publish! It sometimes feels like you are swimming against an uncaring tide; there are scores of authors out there, all in the same boat; fuelled with desire to get their story heard, to scrape together enough reviews so the Amazonian God might notice their scrawlings, to actually make more money from downloads than they spend on marketing. And it is all down to you the writer, to be your own publisher, your own marketeer, your own fan club…*groans*
“A boy’s story is the best that is ever told” – Charles Dickens
I think this relates back to elements of my previous blog, “Take a step back from the notepad…“, in that I believe you should sometimes just let the story gush out, much like a child will rush indoors to tell you all about the spider they just saw, in great detail, without pausing for breath, chopping back and forth as they remember salient information that they missed the first time around.
Once the story is out, it can “Fly! Be free!” (Mork and Mindy, anyone?)
– just hopefully with more success! Once released you can scrutinise and modify to your heart’s content.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
When I learn anything during this self-publishing malarkey there is a good chance it was as a result of a failure. My Sciences background teaches me that a “nil result” is still a result, even if it usually isn’t as exciting or Nobel Peace Prize worthy as when your theorising holds true. Failures can be built upon, can be learned from. Indecision is worse than trying and failing. Can I put my name to that quote? Probably not!
“We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in” – Ernest Hemingway
I think I will end on this one. I love it. As with most of the quotes in this blog it works for so many aspects of one’s life, be it work, play or relationships. We are all flawed (see Einstein’s quote above), but those flaws are what make us rounded people, unique and idiosyncratic. They define our every day actions, they fuel our (in)decision-making, and they are essential for a good writer. I think I’m very broken, although whether one’s ‘broken-ness’ is directly correlated to one’s writing ability is debatable, but if it is then look out world, here I come!
As always, comments are very welcome.
My new fantasy novel, “The Jracon’s Burden” is available to download from Amazon now! Magic-wielding dragonflies, what more could you want from a fantasy novel?