How long have I loved story? Since forever.
– Jane Yolen, Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft
Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too. If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.
The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you — and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.
– Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Be proud of your mistakes. Well, proud may not be exactly the right word, but respect them, treasure them, be kind to them, learn from them.
And, more than that, and more important than that, make them.
Make mistakes. Make great mistakes, make wonderful mistakes, make glorious mistakes. Better to make a hundred mistakes than to stare at a blank piece of paper too scared to do anything wrong, too scared to do anything.
– Neil Gaiman, “2004 Harvey Awards Speech” from The View from the Cheap Seats
There are a limited number of plots (some say seven, some say twelve, some say thirty). There is no limit to the number of stories. Everybody in the world has their story; every meeting of one person with another may begin a story. Somebody asked Willie Nelson where he got his songs, and he said, “The air’s full of melodies, you just reach out.” The world’s full of stories, you just reach out.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, Steering the Craft
It is your job, usually through revision, to make the improbable credible and convincing. And from being credible and convincing, you must go on to make it inevitable.
– Stephen Koch, The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop
The reason we read stories is ultimately a selfish one. On the surface, we want to be entertained or enlightened, but deeper down, we’re looking for a mirror. We want to see our stories reflected back at us. Changed, maybe. Tweaked in some way, or reflected in reverse. Possibly we’re looking for a larger mirror–one to reflect not just our individual stories, but the story of who we are collectively, the story of where we are in place and time, a story to make sense of things.
– Chuck Wendig, Damn Fine Story
Stories are where we find ourselves, where we find the others who are like us. Gather enough stories and soon you’re not alone; you are an army.
– Sam J. Miller, Blackfish City
The imagination is infinite–it can encompass all you want it to encompass, if you let it. Everything we see around us, whether functional or decorative, once existed in someone’s imagination. Every building, every fixture, every chair, every table, every vase, every road, every toaster. In fact, the world we live in is largely a manifestation of many individual and collective imaginations applied to the task of altering preexisting reality. So the question becomes, How can you position yourself to dream well?
– Jeff Vandermeer, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction
“As long as we are able to
be extravagant we will be
hugely and damply
extravagant. Then we will drop
foil by foil to the ground. This
is our unalterable task, and we do it
And they went on. “Listen,
the heart-shackles are not, as you think,
death, illness, pain,
unrequited hope, not loneliness, but
lassitude, rue, vainglory, fear, anxiety,
Their fragrance all the while rising
from their blind bodies, making me
spin with joy.
– Mary Oliver, “WHEN THE ROSES SPEAK, I PAY ATTENTION” from Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver
As long as you’re dancing, you can
break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just
extending the rules.
Sometimes there are no rules.
– Mary Oliver, “THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER” from Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver