So, You Want to Be a Writer?

Writer, word on the book with letters flying

This week’s topic: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Last week, I participated in a faculty writing retreat at the university where I teach. Normally, these retreats take place on campus, but due to stay-at-home orders we met each morning on Zoom to discuss our goals and strategies for the day, and we met again each afternoon to talk about our successes and challenges. The facilitator did a great job giving us prompts each day. On Thursday, he asked us to each share our favorite inspirational quote that keeps us focused on writing. I loved the variety of quotes, because they all present a different message, and can all be beneficial to someone who wants to write a story.

I chose a quote that motivates me: “You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” Brainy Quotes attributed this to Jodi Picoult, but I’ve also seen credit given to Nora Roberts. Basically, this is a well-worded version of “Bottom in chair, hands on keyboard.” Or to borrow a well-known slogan: Just do it. You won’t have a book if you don’t sit down and just write it.

Victoria, a professor of visual arts (photography), had a more poetic choice:
What to remember when waking, the disciplines of an everyday life.
Start Close In.
Taking the courageous step.
Turn sideways into the light.
~ David Whyte
** My takeaway from this quote: Start with what you know, and go from there.

Jerry, our workshop facilitator, and professor in the writing department, shared this one:
“Rhetoric is the art of changing one audience into another.” ~ from the rhetorician Stephen Mailloux
**My translation: Tell the story you would want to hear.

Naoki, professor of criminal justice, contributed this one:
“Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity. You take care of the quality.” ~ Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way.
**To me, this says you might write a lot of words, but you need to pray that they’re the right ones.

From Dauvan, a professor in the writing department:
“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” ~ Isabel Allende
**This is a great follow-up to the quote I chose. Sit down and write. Eventually, the story will come out.

What words of wisdom would you use?

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
This entry was posted in authors, inspiration, Patricia Kiyono, phrases, Preparing for writing, The Author Life, writers, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to So, You Want to Be a Writer?

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Those are all great quotes.
    Interesting topic for this week. I’ll have to activate my brain cells before Hound Day.
    I read Cameron’s book, “The Artists’ Way” — I think it helped me over a big hump.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Our local writing group had a speaker who runs local workshops based on The Artist’s Way, and it was great for getting the words flowing. I’m sure you’ll rustle up a few nuggets of wisdom by Thursday!


  2. Diana Stout says:

    I love your translation of these quotes. They become far more personal that way. Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Thanks, Diana. We were supposed to explain WHY our chosen quote resonated with us, but not everyone did – so I did my own interpretation! Thanks for stopping in.


  3. Great idea, Patty. I love this post, the quotes and your ‘take-aways’. I have been asked for a lot of advice,(ironic, huh?), especially by young writers.I will have a fair-sized post on Friday.


  4. My advice would be write what you know. Take some writing classes (there are very good online and free classes to get you going). Always re-read what you wrote, make corrections, and get some editing programs to run it through (there are a lot of free ones you can use, if you can’t afford to buy). Then find a good critique partner or group (prefereably) who don’t just criticize but give good constructive criticism and tell you where your strengths lie. Some people use Beta-readers, but I prefer critiquers who are both writers and readers. Then get an editor. The editor is the most expensive thing you’ll do. But if you can’t afford one, repeat the process and do the best you can. There are good editors out there who will work with you on payments because they love to help authors.


  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Really great quotes. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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