Toni Morrison on Writing Rituals

“Recently I was talking to a writer who described something she did whenever she moved to her writing table. I don’t remember exactly what the gesture was—there is something on her desk that she touches before she hits the computer keyboard—but we began to talk about little rituals that one goes through before beginning to write. I, at first, thought I didn’t have a ritual, but then I tumblr_ncqd97YGYG1shx0kuo1_1280remembered that I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark—it must be dark—and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come. And she said, Well, that’s a ritual. And I realized that for me this ritual comprises my preparation to enter a space that I can only call nonsecular . . . Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It’s not being in the light, it’s being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense.”

from an interview in The Paris Review

from The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

new york city girl inspiration“But, she knew, you didn’t have to marry your soulmate, and you didn’t even have to marry an Interesting. You didn’t always need to be the dazzler, the firecracker, the one who cracked everyone up, or made everyone want to sleep with you, or be the one who wrote and starred in the play that got the standing ovation. You could cease to be obsessed with the idea of being interesting.”

Meg Wolitzer

The War of Art

Here are some of the best quote’s from Steven Pressfield‘s excellent book, The War of Art.
images“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

“Are you paralyzed with fear? cliffThat’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

tumblr_mkonybncB51qlzvrgo1_1280“The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.”

Annie Proulx’s Rules for Writing


1. Proceed slowly and take care.

2. To ensure that you proceed slowly, write by hand.

3. Write slowly and by hand only about subjects that interest you.

4. Develop craftsmanship through years of wide reading.

5. Rewrite and edit until you achieve the most felicitous phrase/sentence/paragraph/page/story/chapter.


420 Characters

“After she fled he became tumblr_nbcjqftEvV1s7f3fyo1_1280his own wife, ironing in his underwear, dusting the shelves, moving the figurines to the dining room table then replacing them carefully when he’d finished waxing the cabinet. Wearing her apron, he often made casseroles. Sometimes he’d sit on her closet floor and move his face through her dresses, like a dog searching in a field of high grass.”

-From Lou Beach’s collection of short stories, all 420 characters or less.

All About Books

This week, we’ve found some great articles and resources all revolving around the subject of BOOKS!

1. Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro have an interesting discussion on genre.imgres

2. Adam Gopnik talks about what it really means for us when yet another book store closes its doors.

3. It is now common practice for Western books to be censored in China.

4. And here’s a piece all about bibliotherapy, where a patient is prescribed novels for therapeutic effect. The piece then delves into the question of whether or not reading can make you happy.

What’s your excuse for not reading enough?

Not sure what to read? Try the site What Should I Read Next. When you enter a book you’ve enjoyed, the site will offer you a similar book suggestions from its huge database. Or check out this fun map and find your next read by first selecting the location you’d like it to be set in.

Can’t afford to buy books? Besides using a library, you can check out Project Gutenberg: it’s a library of over 49,000 free public domain ebooks. Here’s a list of the most popular books on the site.

Need some motivation? Here‘s an article on how to read more & get the most out of it.bookz

“With books there is no forced sociability. If we pass the evening with those friends—books—it’s because we really want to. When we leave them, we do so with regret and, when we have left them, there are none of those thoughts that spoil friendship: ‘What did they think of us?’—‘Did we make a mistake and say something tactless?’—‘Did they like us?’—nor is there the anxiety of being forgotten because of displacement by someone else.”

Marcel Proust