So you can read my books

Monday, July 17, 2017

What keeps the TALENTED from GREATNESS?

“Principles are good and worth the effort
 only when they develop into deeds."

  “The great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, 
but is a succession of little things
 that are brought together.”  
 -Van Gogh 

Teachers have long thought 

that there is in this present culture an ethical weaknesses and intellectual poverty 

that keep even the most gifted young people from ascending to greatness.

But I remind myself of the words of Virginia Wolfe in Orlando:
“It is probable that the human spirit has its place in the time assigned to it.” 


 Contemplators love the study of nature but only for its aesthetic qualities :

the sublime spectacles, the beautiful forms, the splendid colors, and the graceful structures.

 To linger over-long in the realm of faerie 

is to miss out as the world -- and your opportunities -- move on without you.

2.) When LABEL becomes the GOAL not the CONSEQUENCE of ACTION

One did not become a knight merely by parading about in a suit of armor.

No, knighthood was found in deeds --

as the term author is reserved for those who complete the books in their heads.

"He who knows and acts is the one who counts, 
not he who knows and falls asleep. 

We render a tribute of respect to those who add original work to a library, 
and withhold it from those who carry a library around in their head."
- Santiago Ramón y Cajal

3.) Eat a STEAK by swallowing 

We all have heard the term "Baby Steps."

Why did so many great writers start out by writing short stories?

They grew by doing, of course.

But also each successful sale reinforced their desire 

to write more stories that blossomed into writing novels.

This principle pertains to most things in life:

Tackle small problems first, so that if success smiles and strength increases,

 one may then undertake the great feats 

4.) The MAP is NOT the JOURNEY

The journey does not take itself.

Don't plan -- WRITE

Plotting your novel in detail may feel like writing, but it is not.

Writing one sentence, one chapter after another -- THAT is writing.

Plan too much and you increase the odds of your novel being dead on arrival.

Even if it is finished, 

the spark and spontaneity will have vanished like that iridescent rainbow that shimmered so beautifully in the storm clouds.

Writing is not building a house.  It is an art.

Do you think Van Gogh or Picasso outlined their paintings?

The best stories we read, the ones we aspire to write, 

are the ones that leave us in a more mysterious world than we knew at the start, 

stories that illuminate questions rather than answers.

5.) Our MUSCLES grow 

The same is true of any skill:


"The water does not flow
 until the faucet is turned on."  
- Louis L'Amour

The best writing happens when the writer is discovering what happens as he or she is creating.


I am not the Yardstick of the Universe so these are merely my suggestions for you to reflect upon.

I hope I have at least amused you.

If not:


  1. Hi Roland - love the 'Dear Mr Watterson' clip - fascinating to read. Your words about Virginia Woolf and the Orlando clip are very probably true ...

    “It is probable that the human spirit has its place in the time assigned to it.”

    The here and now ... love Calvin and Hobbes .. cheers Hilary

  2. I'm a planner so guess I'm not as much an artist then.

    1. Like I said: these were just my thoughts. We each must choose our own path. Besides, your sales blow me out of the water so what do I know? :-)

  3. I don't plan my novels much, but there's a short nonfiction piece I want to write and I've found that for it I need to plan and outline. Kind of makes it easier than fiction!

    1. Non-fiction, as you say, is quite different -- facts need structure! :-)