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You can’t be a writer and live a quiet life: Three writing truths

I once heard a writing teacher advise her students to live a “quiet life.” She said if you want to be a writer, but live too exciting a life, you won’t have any time for your writing.


Yes, if you want to be a writer, you have to make time for the act of writing. But you also need to live a passionate life. If not, your lack of passion will seep into your writing.

This week I discovered Owen Egerton’s blog, “Type So Hard You Bruise the Screen,” where he shares his list of 30 points of prose (ala Jack Kerouac).

A few of my favorites from his list:

* Do not wait for inspiration. Go out and hunt it. Seduce it. Pin it down and dribble spit on its forehead until it cracks your leg bone and renames you.

* Do not write from answers. Write from questions. Discover more questions. Our work is not to explain the mystery, but to expand it.

* You are going to die. So are all your readers. Let this inform every story you write.

Read Egerton’s blog for the rest of his points. I’m printing his list and putting it next to my writing area.

What are some of your writing truths?

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great word, “hooey”! It conveys the sentiment so well! Great tips, as usual.

    April 12, 2013
    • Thanks, Jane. I learned it from my Norwegian grandmother, along with “uff da” “Jiminy Crickets” and half a dozen other gems 🙂

      April 12, 2013
  2. Excellent quotes! For me it is – don’t limit yourself to genre, style or experience – even the smallest ‘nugget’ can be golden.

    April 12, 2013
  3. Exactly! Live, revel in the full glorious and terrible beauty of life, and then tell your readers about all of it!

    April 12, 2013
  4. Val Mills #

    I’m with you all the way on your choice of advice above. Dare I passionately hunt down and seduce my passion and spit on its forehead? Powerful stuff.

    April 12, 2013

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