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?