"The only way to do great work is to love what you do" (stolen from a Colin Smith comment)
'Stories aren't just made up!'
The Kafka quote "A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity" with TELLING written next to it in red marker.
I love that poster! If I put that up at work though, they'd fire me and since my office isn't set up at home yet and I'm writing on the couch, I have no place to put it so I'll motivate vicariously through you :)
I just put a new one up yesterday."What is this about?"
I actually have a few on my Pinterest board: My two favorites:"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." ~Ernest Hemingway~"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better." ~Anne Lamott~ from BIRD BY BIRD: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
Write drunk; edit sober.but i really like yours too :)
Raise you words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. - Rumi
I have a little sticker that says "The only way to do great work is to love what you do." As for your poster--that would be great in the bathroom. Opposite the toilet, of course. :)
I've got a magnet that says "When work feels overwhelming, remember you're going to die."Now THATS motivation!
A sign over the trash bin with an illustrated alligator in robes that says: "The Space Pope wants YOU to empty the trash BEFORE it is full!"I write in the kitchen. Sometimes the Husbeast needs reminders.
A former boss got me the letters THINK! I hope he meant it as a compliment.
Ok I take that back obviously and unreservedly and apologise fully!
I have a houseplant. I only water it on the days I actually write. When it starts looking sad and wilty it guilts me into actually getting shit done instead of sitting at my desk and goofing off on Twitter.(Probably worth mentioning that this is my *second* plant - the first one died . . .)
My most recent favorite phrase, in reference to critique partners, "And don't waste my time blowing sunshine up my skirt." by Craig Lancaster on Jane Friedman's blog.
It's a little longer than a saying, but I have a poster with Ira Glass' quote on closing the gap between what your work is and what you want it to be:"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through."
Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise. - Bertrand Russell
Do the work.
CED, thanks for that reminder. I read it sometime ago, but I now should cc/paste so I don't lose it again.HUSBEAST! WEREWIFE! Offspring. Werebeasts?
I love these! I've got printouts of Maggie Stiefvater's "Eyes Up, Writers" blog post and Sean Ferrell's "Pathetic email" blog post, and two sticky notes:"So you're not as good as a peer. So what? You aren't dead yet." -- Kameron Hurley"Shut up and work. If you work hard enough, your thing won't be shitty. I promise." -- Heather Havrilesky
"Success is relative, you're winning while you're still not forking dog food from a tin".
Donnaeve, if you google the first few words of the quote, you'll find a selection of poster-worthy images of it (if you prefer graphics over plain text).And as long as I'm here, I'll toss in: "You don't write because you're inspired; you become inspired because you write."
That's concise.Mine:"Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work." - Gustave Flaubertand "I feel Good." written on the inside of my paintbox
Hermina wins, second to QOTKU
I forget who said it, but the following quote has always helped me: "It is better to understand rather than impress."And here's a poem I like to look at near my writing desk:Hold fast to dreamsFor if dreams dieLife is a broken-winged birdThat cannot fly.Hold fast to dreamsFor when dreams goLife is a barren fieldFrozen with snow. -Langston Hughes
Unlurking to share."This is about PROGRESS, not perfection. You can do anything for 15 minutes!"and "It's okay to write a really bad first draft. The second one doesn't have to be great, either."Also several items related to mental health, like the Serenity Prayer and what to do when "Everything is Awful and I'm Not Okay." I need a lot of reassurance, apparently.
"A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people."Thomas Mann
Having read this blog for a pretty long time, I figured I might as well pop into the comments section today. I don't have a physical poster by my writing spot, but my computer desktop image is the words, "The Perilous Realm must be entered with courage."
When I asked an on-line friend, in so many words, "should I 'FTF', (finish the f***er), she replied..."Joy is how you know you're doing what God intended you to do. The purpose of joy is to show you the way.""JOY" is a sticky note on my computer.And, "It's never to late to be who you might have been." George Elliot
Lydia, love it. You entered, and as we all know, this realm can be pretty perilous. I know that's not where you were going but hey, good words and courage apply almost anywhere.
Actually, I came back since everyone is posting quotes, this is the one that sits over my desk when it really is set up to write:Santa to Opus: I see no penguins here whose wings merely sputter. Tonight it was courage that flew yours beyond others.From A Wish for Wings that Work by Berkeley BreathedIt still takes courage for me to put pen to paper to write...
I'm reading UP the line, Danae McB,consider yourself reassured. Lord knows we all need that.Karen I love the poem, fills me up.CED, DeadSpiderEye, OMG all of you. I'm going to print this entire stream, highlight the words and phrases and wallpaper my office wall.
Inhabit tie scene...
I like to keep a mirror next to my computer so if I am not actually doing any work I can always look at myself and wink.
"Explorers are never lost."
I like these posts that bring the lurkers out from the shadowy realms.Hello lurkers!! :)Don't forget, if you want to add your name to the Blog Roll, AKA the List of Blog Readers and their Blogs, AKA "Carkoon's Most Wanted"--let me know! You can ping me here, or maybe better, email me.
"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"There's also this one, which goes on the bottom of all my email… "You will come across hope and despair in almost every situation.Only one of them wins each time."
This is the bottom of my email signature, given to me by a wonderful friend. Thanks, Mooky!!There are only two groups of people in this world that hear voices in their heads-schizophrenics and writers...and sometimes, the line between the two is VERY thin.
I don't have anything near my desk to look at (except a to do list, a password or two, and a book on hangings in Canada up to 1923).I do have memories.I remember a wise person who said in a session at SiWC (I can't even remember what the session was about. I just remember this quote): "I can fix crap. I can't fix a blank page."I remember my parents saying, "You can't make a living writing" – 20 years before I started making more money per hour doing technical writing than my mother ever did working at banks for most of her life.The first gets me to put words on paper. The second reminds me that I've been challenged, met that challenge, and can meet further challenges. And that I *can* make a living writing.There are more, of course, but while my memory is pretty good, it can be hard to dig those memories out of the molasses that is my brain.2Ns: I'm stealing this: "Joy is how you know you're doing what God intended you to do. The purpose of joy is to show you the way."nightsmusic: I'd forgotten that! I'm a big Bloom County/Berkeley Breathed fan. Thanks!
I have a battered No Parking sign over my desk to remind me not to just park my butt in my chair and not write.I have a few.You can have anything you want - if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, have anything you desire, accomplish anything you set out to accomplish - if you will hold to that desire with singleness of purpose. --Robert E. LeeA dream and a number two pencil can take you anywhere. --Joyce Meyer--is the signature on my emailA friend had a plaque made for me that says, "Julie, Trust me. I have everything under control. GodJeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.""There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”--Ernest HemingwayThe last quote is essential to me. It reminds me that even Hemingway had days he struggled to write.
MarcP: "I like to keep a mirror next to my computer so if I am not actually doing any work I can always look at myself and wink."Oh, you.*wipes tears*
nightsmusic - I liked your schizophrenia one. Useful to know when I find myself having a conversation with no one else in the room.
@DonnaeveIt's method writing!!
I saw this on Renderosity.com. It was by Arrogathor.It was a poser-pic of an infant, trying to walk, legs stiff and obviously unfamiliar w/ the actions they're attempting, arms out clumsily for balance.The words:ProverbsAll things are difficult before they are easy.
Let's eat Grandma.Let's eat, Grandma.Commas save lives.
I keep a "Dogma" calendar above my desk, so I see a new dog photo and bit of wisdom each month. August's photo is a Corgi jumping on a skateboard, and the accompanying message is, "Life is short--don't curb your enthusiasm."
I've got a notice with with Hemingway's famous quote. 'Genius is one percent inspiration and 99% Distillation.'
"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit." Richard BachAlso a Cherokee proverb that says, "Don't let tomorrow use up too much of today." And finally, from Oscar Wilde: "Life is too important to be taken seriously."
I'm planning to make one: "What would you do if you weren't afraid?"
Berke Breathed for president. Except I'm Canadian, but still. Opus rules."If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."Stephen King
Oh me, oh my, today is a Godsend. Not a quote, that's today.Thanks !
Mine is "Mommy needs 15 minutes of quiet time or she's going to implode."It even works sometimes."Just keep swimming ..."
"Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent." - Joe Sparano
At my desk is a sign that says "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."
Aside from the artwork my kids have kindly tacked to the wall, I have a passage from PG Wodehouse's Heavy Weather, entitled "Uncle Woggly to His Chicks." It is one of the funniest pieces of writing I know, and so serves a dual purpose as motivation to do better in my own writing, and as a pick-me-up when I'm getting down.
Mine comes from a card a friend sent me The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.
Of course, I have to tell a story.When my son was a teenager, he started calling me "Warden", because "living with you is like being in prison". I hated the name.When he left school and moved in with his dad, he started calling his dad "Spanky". I was floored at the lack of respect, and realized just how much respect there is in the title "Warden". Decided I didn't mind being the Warden.For Christmas last year, he brought me a name plate from a prison that was being torn down. It's orange, and says "The Warden's Office". The sign is on the wall right in front of me, to remind me that even my son respects me, and I have the power to do whatever I choose. :)
Marc P - "method writing" made me smile.
Wendy, your houseplant confession just totally cracked me up. *wipes away tears* Please don't let this one die.Back before I had a laptop, I had a couple sayings stuck to my desk next to my PC. Not going to even try for verbatim recall, but there was the one about writing a novel is like driving at night and only seeing what's immediately in front of you and you can make the entire journey that way. And the one about you having the same number of hours in a day as everyone else (and listing several famous over-achievers). And the one saying something like, whatever you think you can do, begin.And I've always liked the one attributed to Hemingway: The first draft of anything is shit.There are many quotes from Gaiman I've posted over the years too.I currently have a picture saved to my desktop screen. It's of a ballerina's feet, up on her toes. One foot is all laced up in pretty pink pointe shoes with wide bands of ribbon around a slender ankle. The other foot is bare. It's beat up as all hell and has a corn cushion on one toe and bits of bandages stuck on the others. The words across the top say: "Everyone wants to be successful until they see what it actually takes." I like the reminder that grace and beauty come from strength and hard work. But also the reminder that, as "hard" as writing is, at least my feet aren't battered and bleeding.
There are so many rules about writing. As many rules as there are, there's more advice. We've seen today what inspires this community and it's been a wonderful collection. I was putting some things up and knocked over a bunch of mini posters with inspirational quotes I used to send to prisoners when I had the prison ministry. One poster has a frog choking a stork who's trying to eat it. It says, "Never Give Up!"I was looking for that image to post here and came across this site. Well, I had to watch the video. What an inspiring act of courage.The picture I was looking for is farther down.Above all, I would exhort all of you to never give up. I know it's hard. That's what makes you big damned heroes.
I have a few -"Im still hot - it just comes in flashes now""courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway""the only way to avoid housework is to live outside""W.I.N.E. - women in need of excitement":D
Julie W.On the father's hat, what I typed this morning at 7:03. You message hit home here.I wanted to add that until we put our house on the market my office walls were covered with many of my articles, my daughters' considered their favorites. It was such an honor. My youngest did my office over as a Christmas Gift a few years ago. Up until then it was little more than a spare bedroom used for storage. Today, with all these wonderful words shared, has convinced me to put my hard-earned words back up.We must inspire ourselves because the words start with us.
(Unlurking) I had a favorite T-shirt that said, "Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams." I love many of the ones posted here too. Thanks!(Relurking)
At the dayjob, actually, but it reminds me to keep at it: "The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams."
I have this inspirational quote taped up in my little cubby-hole of a workspace:"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." Nelson Mandela
I got nothin'.
"Human speech is like a cracked pot on which we beat out rhythms for bears to dance to when we are striving to make music that will wring tears from the stars." Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
in general, my writing space is with my laptop on the couch, so nothing quote-y hung up (though Jack Vettriano's "The Singing Butler" is on the wall behind me, which I quite like). I have thought about employing the quote "A thinking woman sleeps with monsters" as a tattoo (it's from Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law"), which I guess would count as in my writing space ;)
@kdjames My youngest daughter's feet looked like that as an individual figure skater. I used to cry over how bad they looked sometimes, but she refused to allow anything to stand in her way. I have to do the same with my writing. I can't let a rejection letter stop me. It doesn't mean I'm no good, it just means it was the wrong fit with that agent. My daughter went through a few coaches before she found the right fit. Her feet weren't any bloodier, but when she found the right one, she soared. Same with writing as far as I can tell.
I am a day behind, but as an avid collector of quotes, I wanted to share some of my faves when I am looking for inspiration:"Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire." - Sonia Sotomayor "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'" - Mary Anne Radmacher“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” - Mahatma Gandhi
I have Demotivational posters around (e.g. "It is always the darkest right before it goes pitch black."). *sigh*
Katie loves coffee, this is perfection for those traveling the quest."Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'" - Mary Anne Radmacher
"The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you did NOT write."
"Embrace your inner panda"
Mine says:Novelist at workBystanders may be written into the story
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela
I love that two days later people are still checking in and posting. Here's one I came up with a week or so ago while updating my blog.The limits we put on our achievements and successes are only bound by the efforts we put forth to complete them. Whatever our passion, IF WE DON’T TRY, DON’T FINISH, AND SIMPLY DREAM, WONDER AND WAIT, WE SELF-PROPHESIZE OURSELVES TO FAIL.
I like that one Carolynnwith2Ns!It reminds me of when I first started exhibiting what my husband now calls my "editing face". He used to ask me if writing was so stressful for me, why did I do it?Struggling to explain the strange and awesome joy that comes through successfully navigating a difficult section of a book, I settled on the explanation that no one has ever done anything worthwhile by not caring about it. I like your explanation too. May have to add it to my collection :).
I have two stuck next to my computer:The most painful thing to experience is not defeat but regret & Never give up! Never surrender!
My writing space is a cocoon of abstract paintings, Edward Hopper prints, and Juliana Hatfield posters. Does "Become What You Are" count as an inspirational aphorism?
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