I love quotes.
And I guess you do too.
I once have a notebook for storing quotes that got lost. It was painful. Well today, I still file away quotes but not with pen and paper but in my Evernote account. With that, I can be sure my quotes are safe and secure.
I have pulled from my Evernote account some powerful quotes on writing that I believe will inspire you and further encourage you in your pursuit of an outstanding writing career.
These quotes are from best-selling authors, novelists, advertising legends and copywriters. I also commented on each quote to add my musings.
Sometimes we think we need a guru to anoint us a writer or get a book deal or win a Nobel laureate before we can feel comfortable to call ourselves a writer. If you have written something before, you are a writer. Go, write something else.
University education has no bearing on your ability to write. I studied engineering and I did extremely well. Recently I pull out an old term paper and read it aloud to myself. It sounded ridiculous. I use to tell my friends “your education starts after you finish schooling” in fact, Thomas Edison once quipped “I never allow schooling to interfere with my education”. If you stop reading and studying after you graduated from the university you could up being worse than someone who didn’t go to school at all.
A thousand steps begin with a single step, so a thousand words must begin with one word. This is my best formula for becoming a better writer: sit down and write.
There is a common thread that ran through all great writers: they read a lot. If you want to be an amazing writer, read like one.
We all know what writer’s block is: that thing that makes a writer steer at a blank screen and wonders what the heck he is going to write about. Don’t let that get in the way of writing. Start anywhere. Start with a quote. Start with a question. Start with a story. Borrow, even steal (ethically) a phrase from another piece of writing. Just start.
I started very terribly. I would write a sentence and delete it. I would write another one and discover it is any better than the previous, I will delete that too. I tried the third sentence and it was better than the first two. I got better. Word by word, phrase by phrase and sentence by sentence, I am getting better. The only way to get better at doing anything at all is to be comfortable with doing it poorly at first. Anything worth doing at all is worth doing poorly at first. Focusing on getting it right at first sight is a perfect recipe for getting nothing done at all. Just do it.
To stand out as a writer, you must embrace your uniqueness- what makes you “you”. Your unique perspective and experience make you who you are and that will show in your writing. It will determine your tone of voice when you write. Your deep convictions and reservations make you different from others. And that is a good thing.
I heard there is a book in everyone. I believe there is more than one book in everyone. There is something you are born to do. The world will be missing something great if you are not here. Thank God you are here. Share your gift with passion and connect with those you here to serve.
As a copywriter, I know the importance of choosing my copy words carefully, as this can make the difference between someone buying something or hitting the back button for good. It is okay to fart out words just to get things on paper, however, we must take the time to revise our work to remove the chaff from the substance.
The purpose of any piece of writing is to communicate an idea, to teach, to motivate and inspire the reader. Anything else is a waste of ink. One of the best advice, when it comes to writing, is: express don’t impress. Kerouac said, “one day I will find the right words, and they will be simple”.
When I first started as a writer, I struggled a lot. I thought the whole show was about me. I lack clarity and direction. But when I put writing in the context of service to others, things got a lot easier. Empathy is the ability to step into other shoes and feel their pains and struggles. Great writers strive to be altruistic and empathetic.
Do you want to communicate more effectively? Then, the show doesn’t just tell. Using figurative languages, imagery, and metaphors will help you to create evocative descriptions that show rather than tell. Aristotle once said “the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. One of the greatest masters of metaphor that I know of is Bishop David Oyedepo. In one of his sermons, he said: “planning is winning just as breathing is leaving”. Powerful.
Inherent in every story is a powerful force to influence. Great teachers and writers are known to be great storytellers. Stories have the power to transfix your readers and make them agree to everything you write. When it comes to using stories to teach I respect one man above all, E .A Adeboye, G.O, Redeem Christian church of God. You will always hear him say “let me tell you two stories, and we will pray”. His stories make hi swords irresistible.
When you read a perfect piece of writing you have read a well-edited piece of writing. You are encouraged to do a brain dump, and tidy it up later. If your goal is perfection from the get-go, you may end up with an unfinished piece of writing. Another powerful advice on writing is: write drunk and edit sober. CJ Cherryh said, “it is perfectly okay to write garbage, as long as you edit brilliantly”.
Verbosity is easy, brevity is hard. It is easy to think that long-winding sentences are a sign of cleverness but try shorter sentences and you will discover that is the real work. It is a mark of a genius writer to be able to put in a few words an Idea that would normally require longer words to express without losing the meaning and substance of the idea. You can quote me on that.
If you are a perfectionist, you will also suffer this affliction. But far and wide, the most pervasive reason people don’t ship their work is their fear of criticism- the fear of being judged by others. If you have written something, be proud of it and care less what the critics may say. There are positive criticisms, but they are rear. Focus on productivity, service, and love for what you do and soon, you will rise above the noise.
I felt a moral obligation to include a Nigeria author and this is what I could remember for now. In that statement, Achebe was referring to Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for 27 years for his fight against injustice and inequality in South Africa. It is also a testament to the power of words.
Words are powerful. They can move mountains and break down barriers if you know how to weird its power. They can start a war, and they can also stop it. They can make someone fall in love with you, and they can make them hate you. Through auto-suggestion, you can make yourself happy or not happy with the words you speak to yourself. I will be a student of the word and its usage for life. Finally, this one is from Hunter S Thompson. In 1959, years before he hits his stride, he said