We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort.
And that is why we write.
– Neil Gaiman, “Telling Lies for a Living… And Why We Do It: The Newbery Medal Speech, 2009” from The View from the Cheap Seats
The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.
– Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art
It’s like this: in me there’s a story that wants to be told. It is my end; I am its means. If I can keep myself, my ego, my wishes and opinions, my mental junk, out of the way and find the focus of the story, and follow the movement of the story, the story will tell itself.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, Steering the Craft
Remember that in order to recover as an artist, you must be willing to be a bad artist. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one.
When I make this point in teaching, I am met by instant, defensive hostility: “But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano/act/paint/write a decent play?”
Yes… the same age you will be if you don’t.
So let’s start.
– Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
Write who you are. Crack open your breastbone, grab your heart from its visceral mooring, and smash it into the page. Give it a few bloody twists just to make sure your heart print is firmly and forever smashed onto the page.
Your stories are you, and you are your stories.
– Chuck Wendig, Damn Fine Story