Writers on Writing

Putting down on paper what you have to say is an important part of writing, but the words and ideas have to be shaped and cleaned, cleaned as severely as a dog cleans a bone, cleaned until there’s not a shred of anything superfluous. (Maya Angelou) One writes from one thing only — one’s experience. (James Baldwin) Punctuation marks are the traffic signs and signals placed along the reader’s road. (Theodore M. Bernstein) The “right” way means setting the words down as zestfully as possible, even if you must make changes later. (Frank Bonham) Writing is nothing more than a guided dream. (Jorge Luis Borges) There is only one trait that marks the writer. He is always watching. It’s a kind of trick of the mind and he is born with it. (Morley Callaghan) A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. (Chinese proverb) I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion) If you wish to be a writer, write. (Epictetus) How do I know what I think until I see what I say? (E. M. Forster) The writer creates, and as he does, he plays a role or assumes a voice. (Robert M. Gorrell) It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds as we wish. (S. I. Hayakawa) The more a man writes, the more he can write. (William Hazlitt) There are stories in everything. I’ve...