Everyone is unique. Find out what you have to say that no one else can say;
then perfect the way to say it. That’s all any writer has to sell.
Anybody who can do it can sell anything they write.
(Learn the big difference between what’s interesting to you
and what’s interesting—period.)
Except as we venture to create,
we cannot project ourselves
beyond ourselves to serve and lead.
—Robert K. Greenleaf
My wife took a look at the first version of something I was writing not long ago and said,
“Dammit, man, that’s high school stuff.”
I have to tell her to wait until the seventh draft, it’ll work out all right.
I don’t know why that should be so, that the first or second draft of everything
I write reads that way.
Everything that can be said can be said clearly.
Words are like kisses—
they can express everything or
Getting it wrong is part of
getting it right.
I used to write because I wanted to become rich, and when I didn’t become rich, I wrote because I wanted to become famous, and when I didn’t become famous, I wrote because I liked to write. And that’s when I began to make a little money and gain a little notice.
Respect your reader. The niftiest turn of phrase, the most elegant flight of rhetorical fancy, isn’t worth beans next to a clear thought clearly expressed.
. . . novelists . . . have, on average, about the same IQs as the cosmetic consultants at Bloomingdales’s department store. our power is patience. We have discovered that writing allows even a stupid person to seem halfway intelligent, if only that person will write the same thought over and over again, improving it just a little bit each time. It is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anyone can do it. All it takes is time.
—Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday, 128