pithy utterances (hey, it’s Monday morning, I’m knackered)

It takes at least five years of rigorous training to be spontaneous.  ~Martha Graham

A writer’s brain is full of little gifts, like a piñata at a birthday party. It’s also full of demons, like a piñata at a birthday party in a mental hospital.  ~Colin Nissan

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open…No artist is pleased… There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.  ~Martha Graham

Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em wait.  ~Wilkie Collins

Chance favors the prepared mind.  ~Louis Pasteur

You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’ ~George Bernard Shaw

‎If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased. ~Katharine Hepburn

Many of them have a great story to tell and are well-written, but as I keep trying to tell my students – you have to capture the reader on the first page with an unusual and tension-filled moment. Good writing without tension doesn’t make a novel. It’s all about structure. Many of these novels are undoubtedly the products of MFA programs, and what concerns me is that no one is explaining to students this issue of starting the book in the right place.  ~Kaylie Jones

We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. ~Aristotle

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality? ~Annie Dillard

‎Every effort goes with mistakes as fire goes with smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work that corresponds with one’s nature because it is full of defects. –Bhagavad-gita 18:48

I am not wise, but I have gained wisdom–an ability to 1) look back, 2) look at the now, and 3) look ahead, all at the same time: 1) grounding, 2) centering, 3) growing. ~Talespinner Alison Garrigan

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~Thomas Edison

If you think it’s easy living by your convictions then you are sadly mistaken. It’s the difference between letting life own you or owning your life, and it’s not for the faint of heart.  ~Jackie Delano Cummins

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.  ~John Cage

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~Anais Nin

‎I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it. ~Ray Bradbury

Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy. ~Sir Isaac Newton

and today’s personal favorite:

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

~St. Francis of Assisi


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