. . .  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

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Good writing occurs because a writer passionately desires to say something. . . .
Students do not need more abstract advice about how to write.
They need somehow to have their feelings kindled.

—X.J. Kennedy

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Well begun is half done

Well begun is half done

I’m sure you’ve heard at least one story of a writer who went away to the mountains (or the beach or something like that) for a number of days (a week or a month or whatever) and wrote their latest book. Ads are all over the Internet for “How to write a book in 28...

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