If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Turning to Other Writers for Wisdom and Comfort

I’m in the middle of a big, ambitious book, something completely new for me. Most of the time, I’m excited, and I think it’s really turning out well, but then, like a lot of writers, I doubt myself and think, “What if I’m just fooling myself, and this is really just a mass of wasted words that I’ll have to pitch into the trash?” Because, of course, whenever you stretch yourself and try something new and ambitious, failure is always a very real possibility. If you’re not willing to try and fail, you’re not going to grow and become the best writer you can be.

When I’m looking for reassurance that what I’m experiencing is something my favorites have successfully dealt with or just for comfort or inspiration, I turn to quotes from writers. I’ve been collecting such quotes since I was in my teens. The handwritten journals I’ve kept since my early twenties that fill three entire bookshelves at my house are larded with things writers have said that I’ve found pithy or useful and recorded. Here are some of my favorites.

“'Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L. Doctorow

"The work is greater than my fear."--Audre Lorde

“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked.” – Anne Lamott

"I take writing terribly seriously, and sometimes that just gets in my way. Writing is about the Shadow, which is about play. I just have to learn that again. And, in my own life, it’s like I can’t learn that I’ll rise to the occasion. I do rise to the occasion, but I’m never sure that’s going to happen."
--Sue Grafton

"Write about the things that get under your skin and keep you up at night." --Khaled Houssani

“There are no rules except those you create page by page.” --Stuart Wood

 “You see, paper is magic: Making marks on it changes your brain. So, don't sit around trying to think your way out of problems, write your way out of them. The best place to find answers is on a piece of paper or a glowing phosphorus screen.”--Scott Westerfeld

"Writer’s block is having too much time on your hands. If you have a limited amount of time to write, you just sit down and do it. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page." --Jodi Picoult

“It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.” – P.D. James

“A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight... it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it.” – Annie Dillard

“One word after another. That’s the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes into Chapter Nine, it’s the only way to do it.” – Neil Gaiman

"Turn off your cell phone. Honestly, if you want to get work done, you’ve got to learn to unplug. No texting, no email, no Facebook, no Instagram." --Nathan Englander

And from the inimitable Stephen King, just a few of the pages of writing quotes I have:

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
“To write is human, to edit is divine.”
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
“Just remember that Dumbo didn't need the feather; the magic was in him.”
“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

And to end with another Neil Gaiman quote: “Do what only you can do.”

What do you do when you’re breaking new ground and faced with writer’s insecurities? Do you turn to quotes from other writers for inspiration or comfort in your writer’s journey? What are some of your favorite writer’s quotes?


Warren Bull said...

Linda, I've been where you are. In fact, I've read several authors who you quote. I recommend Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing for reassurance and inspiration.

Kait said...

Hi Linda, can't wait to hear more about your project. And thank you for a wonderful set of quotes, that I have printed.

Jim Jackson said...

Good morning, Linda. New projects are exciting and often fear-inducing. Best of luck with it and I hope to hear soon what it's all about.

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

Well, you've inspired me. I hope it's working as well for you.

I think over confidence can be as worrisome as doubts. At least if you have doubts, you'll be careful & turn a critical eye to your work. If you are overconfident, you are likely to become arrogant and fail to consider that maybe you need more work.

I bet we've all encountered at least one person who feels every word they write is invaluable and untouchable.

Kara Cerise said...

I look forward to learning more about your project, Linda. Thank you for the inspirational quotes. These are two of my favorites:

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” —Ray Bradbury

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.” —Jack Kerouac

Gloria Alden said...

Linda, for years I've put off writing a book about my son who died - a mixture of essays and all the poetry I've written for him over the years. I want it to bring comfort to other people who have lost a child.

I loved all your quotes. As someone who once with her siblings studied the Transcendentalists,
Emerson, Thoreau and others of the period, I'll give you one by Henry David Thoreau - "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.

Or what about this one? "And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk more" Erica Jong.

Grace Topping said...

Hi, Linda -- You must have known that I needed a push to get started with my next book. I've been feeling brain dead. I like one writer's saying (can't remember who): I only write when I'm inspired. I make sure I'm inspired every morning by 9:00 a.m.

Shari Randall said...

So much good stuff here, Linda. Just what I needed. Thank you.
I hope you'll be sharing news about your new project soon.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for posting this, Linda. I'm trying to sell a novel that doesn't fit easily on the shelf. It's a multi-subgenre mystery. I'm hoping there is an agent out there who might be open to something a bit different. I needed to read those quotes!