“My working habits are simple: long periods of thinking, short periods of writing.”
"Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grasp; if love so ignites your words they go down in flames and nothing is left but their scald."
"We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words."
"Words have more power than any one can guess; it is by words that the world’s great fight, now in these civilized times, is carried on."
"You can’t use fiery language to describe a fire. You have to use quiet language so that the fire can be seen."
"[Ideas] come from day dreaming, from drifting, that moment when you’re just sitting there… The trouble with these days is that it’s really hard to get bored. I have 2.4 million people on Twitter who will entertain me at any moment…it’s really hard to get bored. I’m much better at putting my phone away, going for boring walks, actually trying to find the space to get bored in. That’s what I’ve started saying to people who say 'I want to be a writer,' I say ‘great, get bored.'"
"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut… If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write."
"Read with the mind-set of a carpenter looking at trees."
"The ugly fact is books are made out of books."
"If you find yourself thinking about something nonstop and noticing it everywhere, odds are you have something to say about it. Or at least a question to ask about it. And maybe you should be finding a way to communicate that to the world."
"To one who has enjoyed the full life of any scene, of any hour, what thoughts can be recorded about it, seem like the commas and semicolons in the paragraph, mere stops."
"The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true."
"We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to."
"The best time to write a story is yesterday. The next best time is today."
"It is, in fact, an intercourse with ghosts, and not only with the ghost of the recipient but also with one’s own ghost which develops between the lines of the letter one is writing and even more so in a series of letters where one letter corroborates the other and can refer to it as a witness."
"Never tell anyone that you're: writing a book, going on a diet, exercising, taking a course, or quitting smoking. They'll encourage you to death."
"A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it."
"I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'"
"Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. There is, and you can’t get out of it. I rewrote A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times. You’ve got to work it over. The first draft of anything is shit. When you first start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none, but after you learn to work it’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he had read but something that happened to himself. That’s the true test of writing. When you can do that, the reader gets the kick and you don’t get any. You just get hard work and the better you write the harder it is because every story has to be better than the last one. It’s the hardest work there is. I like to do and can do many things better than I can write, but when I don’t write I feel like shit. I’ve got the talent and I feel that I’m wasting it.
"The uniqueness of interesting poetry swallows up every proposed schema : the talent of the great & gifted poet takes a certain essential aspect of poetry - its capacity for obliterating and transcending our habitual mental & philosophical categories - and multiplies it exponentially."