Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Things to do when you're stuck writing that short story/poem/essay

"If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ¬music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don't just stick there scowling at the problem. But don't make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people's words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient."
—Hillary Mantel

"Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ¬being satisfied."
—Zadie Smith

"The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying "Faire et se taire" (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as "Shut up and get on with it."
—Helen Simpson

"Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can't sharpen it on the plane, because you can't take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils."
—Margaret Atwood

"Write slowly and by hand only about subjects that interest you."
—Annie Proulx

"Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ¬internet."
—Zadie Smith

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