Brain Pickings

Reads tagged with “writing”

Rilke on Writing and What It Takes to Be an Artist
Rilke on Writing and What It Takes to Be an Artist

“Go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create.”

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Jennifer Egan on Writing, the Trap of Approval, and the Most Important Discipline for Aspiring Writers
Jennifer Egan on Writing, the Trap of Approval, and the Most Important Discipline for Aspiring Writers

“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.”

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Cycling as a Cure for Creative Block: A Charming 1926 Case for Why the Bicycle Is the Ideal Vehicle for Writers
Cycling as a Cure for Creative Block: A Charming 1926 Case for Why the Bicycle Is the Ideal Vehicle for Writers

“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.”

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Colette on Writing, the Blissful Obsessive-Compulsiveness of Creative Work, and Withstanding Naysayers
Colette on Writing, the Blissful Obsessive-Compulsiveness of Creative Work, and Withstanding Naysayers

“A lack of money, if it be relative, and a lack of comfort can be endured if one is sustained by pride. But not the need to be astounded.”

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Neil Gaiman on Why We Read and What Books Do for the Human Experience
Neil Gaiman on Why We Read and What Books Do for the Human Experience

“Truth is not in what happens but in what it tells us about who we are.”

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Facing the Blank Page: Celebrated Writers on How to Overcome Creative Block
Facing the Blank Page: Celebrated Writers on How to Overcome Creative Block

Wisdom on artistic paralysis from Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Franzen, Lydia Davis, and others.

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The Private Person and the Public Persona: Borges on the Divided Self
The Private Person and the Public Persona: Borges on the Divided Self

A timeless parable of the self-defeating quest for integration.

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Ted Hughes on How to Be a Writer: A Letter of Advice to His 18-Year-Old Daughter
Ted Hughes on How to Be a Writer: A Letter of Advice to His 18-Year-Old Daughter

“The first sign of disintegration — in a writer — is that the writing loses the unique stamp of his/her character, & loses its inner light.”

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Auden on Writing, Originality, Self-Criticism, and How to Be a Good Reader
Auden on Writing, Originality, Self-Criticism, and How to Be a Good Reader

“It would only be necessary for a writer to secure universal popularity if imagination and intelligence were equally distributed among all men.”

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The Effortless Effort of Creativity: Jane Hirshfield on Storytelling, the Art of Concentration, and Difficulty as a Consecrating Force of Creative Attention
The Effortless Effort of Creativity: Jane Hirshfield on Storytelling, the Art of Concentration, and Difficulty as a Consecrating Force of Creative Attention

“In the wholeheartedness of concentration, world and self begin to cohere. With that state comes an enlarging: of what may be known, what may be felt, what may be done.”

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