If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. Toni Morrison
This one is first because this one is how writing happened for me. Itty bitty library and no loan system, so after I’d read through the science fiction/fantasy section, there was nothing left to read. But Mom had an old Selectric typewriter. I found paper. And despite the fact that I couldn’t type to save my life (I was 12) I started writing the grandest, least likely yarn ever conceived by a preteen brain. Pirates. Princesses. Horses. Sword fights. A black panther! Yeah. Like I said. I was 12. The story making any kind of logical sense was just not a thing. But spending my summer in front of that typewriter pecking out word after word stoked a fire that never quite went out. Believe me. I’ve tried to put it out. Writing doesn’t die when I try to put out the fire, little bits of me do instead. So I quit fighting it and I write. Mostly.
A word after a word after a word is power. Margaret Atwood
I love Margaret Atwood. This pithy sentence gets at the whole writing conundrum: It can only be done word by word by word – and some days that is torturous – but that way great and powerful magic is unleashed. Word by word, you build worlds. People who didn’t exist before. Entire universes and lives. If you’re lucky, those words go out into this world and affect real lives here and now. If that’s not power, I don’t know what is. You know the cliché. With great power comes great responsibility. This is the same. You have a responsibility to your story, to your readers and to yourself. And when I say ‘you’, I mean ‘I’. I need the reminder.
Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. Ray Bradbury
Another vital reminder for me because I excel at overthinking shit. It’s my damned super power. (Seeking a super power trade – anyone?) It’s part of why I do NaNoWriMo just about every year – not that I ever win. Won’t this year, either. But the artificial ‘deadline’ of 50k words in a month makes me go faster than I’m usually comfortable with. Sometimes it works. The first pubbed book was a NaNo book. Sometimes it doesn’t work. This year’s NaNo project is wandering in the weeds with no point and notably no conflict. So I stopped. But I didn’t stop. In taking the pressure of WRITE ALL THE WORDS off, I paused to look at what I had and at where I might want to go. Some stuff got pulled into clarity and now, it’s back to 2k a day. No more thinking. Doing. Because that’s the only way stories ever get told. By doing. One word after another.