So you can read my books

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

JULY 4TH'S Insecure Writer's Support


July 4th is America's INDEPENDENCE DAY.

I want to help my writing friends become INDEPENDENT of fear

which is the chief cause of aspiring writers never writing the novel inside them.

Here are 23 (a mystic number in itself) quotations from authors much wiser than myself!

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

Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure our what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer. —Barbara Kingsolver

Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything. —Gustave Flaubert

The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. —Mary Heaton Vorse

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. -Anne Lamott

I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I’m one of the world’s great rewriters. I find that three or four readings are required to comb out the cliches, line up pronouns with their antecedents, and insure agreement in number between subject and verbs…My connectives, my clauses, my subsidiary phrases don’t come naturally to me and I’m very prone to repetition of words; so I never even write an important letter in the first draft. I can never recall anything of mine that’s ever been printed in less than three drafts. You write that first draft really to see how it’s going to come out. —James A. Michener

Fear of failure is the reason most often cited to explain why so many aspiring writers never realize their dreams. But I think it’s that same fear of failure that absolutely invigorates those who do push through—that is, the fear of not being heard. -Betsy Lerner

If you haven’t got an idea, start a story anyway. You can always throw it away, and maybe by the time you get to the fourth page you will have an idea, and you’ll only have to throw away the first three pages. —William Campbell Gault

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. -Mark Twain

A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. —Sidney Smith

I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it. -Ernest Hemingway

There is always the risk that you may disappoint yourself. That risk is there even for productive writers, as most writers don’t write as often as they would like. Because of this reality, you will need to practice self-forgiveness. —Eric Maisel

By writing much, one learns to write well. —Robert Southey

If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage. —Cynthia Ozick

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up. —Jane Yolen

Please, don't torture me with cliches. If you're going to try to intimidate me, have the courtesy to go away for a while, acquire a better education, improve your vocabulary, and come back with some fresh metaphors. ― Dean Koontz (ODD HOURS)

Inspiration doesn’t descend like a lightning bolt from the gods. Inspiration comes instead from a steady breath, a solid foundation, and a commitment to the process. —Laraine Herring

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. —Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird)

Work inspires inspiration. Keep working. If you succeed, keep working. If you fail, keep working. If you are interested, keep working. If you are bored, keep working. —Michael Chrichton

Once we are aware of our fears, we are almost always capable of being more courageous than we think. Someone once told me that fear and courage are like lightning and thunder; they both start out at the same time, but the fear travels faster and arrives sooner. If we just wait a moment, the requisite courage will be along shortly. —Lawrence Block

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for others. —Thomas Mann

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. —Agatha Christie

At some point we must stop anticipating our journey and set sail. Willa Cather said that she wrote best when she stopped trying to write and began simply to remember. —Ralph Keyes (The Courage to Write)

A last word about writing:

“But once an idea for a novel seizes a writer...

well, it’s like an inner fire that at first warms you and makes you feel good but then begins to eat you alive, burn you up from within.

You can’t just walk away from the fire; it keeps burning. The only way to put it out is to write the book.”
― Dean Koontz, Lightning

“No one's life should be rooted in fear. We are born for wonder, for joy, for hope, for love, to marvel at the mystery of existence, to be ravished by the beauty of the world, to seek truth and meaning, to acquire wisdom, and by our treatment of others to brighten the corner where we are.”
― Dean Koontz, Life Expectancy

{Thanks to several of my friends who have talked about my contest yesterday, I am EXTENDING THE DEADLINE TO JULY 15TH to give those who've just learned of my contest a fair chance.}
Prepare yourselves for chills.


  1. Excellent quotes my friend. I've learned to let perfectionism go. All I can do is aim for excellence and my best.

  2. Thanks, Alex:
    Aim for the moon. If you miss, you're still heading towards the stars!

  3. These are inspiring quotes. Thanks!

  4. Greetings Roland,
    Some very profound and thoughtful quotes. And "fear of failure" or perhaps, 'fear of success'.
    To move beyond the niggling self-doubts and remove ourselves from an uncomfortable comfort zone, takes determination and resilience.
    Happy, fulfilling writing to you, good sir.
    And may you have a safe, peaceful and positive 4th of July.
    With respect and good wishes, Gary

  5. Heather:
    I'm glad you liked them!

    May your 4th be one of safe joy and peaceful fun! I will be on call for blood runs as a rare blood courier this 4th!

    We have to have the courage of our dreams if we are to ever realize them.

  6. Hey Roland,
    Although I'm a Canadian living in England and just celebrated Canada Day, I still embrace such peaceful thoughts on any day.
    That sounds like quite the noble venture on your part.
    And the courage to make our dreams a reality.

  7. My friend, Wendy Tyler Ryan, lives in Canada and just celebrated Canada Day. Your Canadian accent must jar a bit in the ears of your British mates.

    Yes, peaceful thoughts help anchor our centers to meet whatever the day brings us, do they not?

    I am quite fortunate to have a job that helps those in pain and in need. Have a great midweek! Roland

  8. Good quotes all!

    I loved Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz; it's one of my all time favorites! I'm reading 77 Shadow Street now. I like how his characters are all representatives of a certain ideologies in the world. I love his snarky commentary on some of those ideologies. Anyway...

    The quote by Thomas Mann hit home with me as well. "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for others." I'm going to have to pass that one along to my daughter.

    Thanks for the encouragement. My new mission in life is to tackle my fears head on.

  9. Sherri:
    I enjoyed THE GOOD GUY by Dean Koontz. But my all time favorite book of his is, oddly enough, FEAR NOTHING. Christopher Snow and his Uber dog, Orson, taking on madness in the little resort town of Moonlight Bay. And those demonic Rhesus Monkeys ... brrr!

    I am currently listening to the audio book of FEAR NOTHING ... really chilling when sitting in the dark of my blood van, waiting for a rare blood hand-off and listening.

    I hope your daughter enjoys the Thomas Mann quote. May you always have light enough for the next step and granted the strength necessary to take it, Roland

  10. Happy 4th Rolamd, I've never read any Dean Koontz but I heard his world building is amazing, just not into that sort of thing hehehe... enjoy the holiday

  11. Happy 4th to you, too, Braine:
    Yes, Koontz is indeed a master of suspense. When I saw the previews of MAGIC MIKE, I thought to myself: "I bet Braine would like this movie!" :-)

  12. I LOVE quotes like this... you're on an inspiring kick today, aren't you??? ;)

    Wanted to drop by and say thanks for signing up for the "What If?" Blogfest. I'm so stoked you'll be participating! :D

  13. Morgan:
    That's what the insecure writer's support group is all about ... inspiration for flagging spirits.

    Alice & Victor will be fracturing a fairy tale with their own distinctive brand of insanity. Which one I've yet to decide!

    I've just designed a poster of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH. It will be 2 weeks before I see how it looks! Suspense time. :-)

  14. Thank you for the excellent quotes. I'm completely inspired! Have a wonderful 4th of July!

  15. I especially like the quote by Sydney Smith. Thanks for sharing these.

  16. Great quotes Roland! I especially love the one about starting a story even if you don't have an idea, because you can always throw it! true. I suppose it is important to just start writing..I'd love to write a novel one day..thanks for the inspiration.

  17. Happy Fourth of July!!!!! I think I'm in love with Dean Koontz just for his quote! Yikes!! LOL! Take care

  18. Thanks, Tiffany:
    Glad you enjoyed them.

    Each of us seems drawn to a different quote in this series. I guess it reflects where each of us stands with our writing dreams.

    That one is great. We need to launch ourselves from the safety of the shore .. I think doing so leads us to amazing places we would never reach otherwise.

    I think if Dean read that, he would smile large and wink at you. Just don't tell his wife!!

  19. I love Michael Crichton's quote. It's all about persistence. That's the inspiration I need. Thanks for the great post!

  20. Michael:
    What Michael Crichton wrote was very much like what Neil Gaiman once wrote. You're right: it's all about persistence. I forced myself today to sit down and write the first 5000 words to THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT. I feel the better for having willed myself to do it.

    I think I will reward myself with watching the next to last episode of DEFYING GRAVITY. Thanks for visiting and chatting, Roland

  21. Happy 4th of July!
    I really enjoyed the quotes.
    So true and full of inspiration!

  22. I forgot about ISWG until tonight! I was too busy trying out July 4th pinterest recipes. ;)

    Fantastic quotes. I especially liked the one by E.L. Doctorow (I attended the same college as him) and the one about sitting your butt in da chair.

  23. Happy 4th to you, too, Marta!
    I'm happy the quotes were helpful and inspiring in some small way.

    You wrote a fine ISWG post tonight on such short notice. Yes, E.L. was insightful. I had to follow that one about my seat in the seat of the chair myself today!

  24. I love reading A.L.'s wisdom in Bird by Bird. Think I'll break it out tonight. :)

  25. Candy:
    One of the great things about books is that you can re-visit old friends again and perhaps picked up what you missed the first time, Roland