During these two weeks, we at the diner have been speaking about books that can’t be read and I’ve been thinking about another dimension -- books left unwritten and dreams cut short. Speaking of dreams. …
My friend and I joined Romance Writers of America around the same time. We met in a writer’s workshop and quickly became e-mail writing partners. I envied her crisp, clear prose, her witty dialogue, and the sheer speed she turned out words, paragraphs, pages and manuscripts. But there were negatives, too. She wrote in spurts and was often disheartened. During her bouts with discouragement, her e-mails lessened. And so did mine. Finally our e-mails stopped completely.
Both of us were busy with life and other non-writing activities. She told me: “I’ll e-mail when I’ve written something worth critiquing.”
Weeks and then months slipped by. Summer came and went. At the Romance Writer’s meeting, she was a no-show.
I e-mailed, passing along the meeting’s news and gossip. I asked why she missed the meeting.
“I’ve quit writing,” she answered. “It’s just too hard.”
“What?” I responded. “You’re an outstanding writer. You can’t quit.”
We argued a while before I switched to, “You have to do what’s right for you, but let’s not lose touch. E-mail me from time to time and let me know what you’re up to.”
I hope she decides to give writing a second try. A writing instructor I had in college says my friend is typical of many beginning writers. “Most people quit,” she told the class. “And that includes the talented as well as the mid-range folks.”
Lots of books that might be big sellers are never born because their creators give up prematurely. To combat this trend and to share some grins, I’ve compiled 13 encouraging quotes.
1.) “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.” Malcolm Forbes
2.) “It’s always too early to quit.” Norman Vincent Peale
3.) “When I’m writing, I know I’m doing the thing I was born to do.” Anne Sexton
4.) “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
5.) Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” William Feather
6.) “A year from now you’ll wish you started today.” Karen Lamb
7.) “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Anais Nin
8.) “It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer.” Gerald Beran
9.) “I write to discover what I think.” Joan Didion
10.) “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.” Winston Churchill
11.) “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge
12.) “Writing has made me rich—not in money but in a couple hundred characters out there, whose pursuits and anguish and triumphs I’ve shared. I am unspeakably grateful at the life I have come to lead.” Wright Morris
13.) “If we have to say what writing is, we would define it essentially as an act of courage.” Cynthia Ozick
If you like these quotes or you’re feeling down about your writing, I have three suggestions.
*Check out “The Courage to Write” by Ralph Keyes; *Share something, a quote, a site or a book that has lifted your spirits.