Brain Pickings

Reads tagged with “writing”

The Problem of Shakespeare’s Sister: Virginia Woolf on Gender in Creative Culture
The Problem of Shakespeare’s Sister: Virginia Woolf on Gender in Creative Culture

“To write a work of genius is almost always a feat of prodigious difficulty. Everything is against the likelihood that it will come from the writer’s mind whole and entire.”

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Willa Cather on Productivity vs. Creativity and the Life-Changing Advice That Made Her a Writer
Willa Cather on Productivity vs. Creativity and the Life-Changing Advice That Made Her a Writer

“It’s so foolish to live (which is always trouble enough) and not to save your soul. It’s so foolish to lose your real pleasures for the supposed pleasures of the chase — or the stock exchange.”

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Kurt Vonnegut’s Lost NYU Lecture on What It Takes to Be a Writer, Animated
Kurt Vonnegut’s Lost NYU Lecture on What It Takes to Be a Writer, Animated

“Nothing means anything — except the artist makes his living by pretending, by putting it in a meaningful hole, though no such holes exist.”

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John Steinbeck’s Prophetic Dream About How the Commercial Media Machine Is Killing Creative Culture
John Steinbeck’s Prophetic Dream About How the Commercial Media Machine Is Killing Creative Culture

Half a century before Buzzfeed, a nocturnal epiphany about the greatest threat to art.

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Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert on Creative Courage and the Art of Living in a State of Uninterrupted Marvel
Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert on Creative Courage and the Art of Living in a State of Uninterrupted Marvel

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

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The Outsider with the Public Voice: How Joan Didion Mirrored Us Back to Ourselves
The Outsider with the Public Voice: How Joan Didion Mirrored Us Back to Ourselves

“From the first, her work insisted that a single life contained the life of our times.”

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Joseph Conrad on Art and What Makes a Great Writer, in a Beautiful Tribute to Henry James
Joseph Conrad on Art and What Makes a Great Writer, in a Beautiful Tribute to Henry James

“All creative art is magic, is evocation of the unseen in forms persuasive, enlightening, familiar and surprising, for the edification of mankind.”

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David Foster Wallace on Why You Should Use a Dictionary, How to Write a Great Opener, and the Measure of Good Writing
David Foster Wallace on Why You Should Use a Dictionary, How to Write a Great Opener, and the Measure of Good Writing

“Really good writing [is] able to get across massive amounts of information and various favorable impressions of the communicator with minimal effort on the part of the reader.”

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William Faulkner on Beginner’s Mind and the Mystique of the Muse
William Faulkner on Beginner’s Mind and the Mystique of the Muse

“Now I realize for the first time what an amazing gift I had: uneducated in every formal sense, without even very literate, let alone literary, companions…”

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A State of Wonder: Margaret Atwood on How Technology Shapes Storytelling While Obeying Its Eternal Constants
A State of Wonder: Margaret Atwood on How Technology Shapes Storytelling While Obeying Its Eternal Constants

“Everybody is telling a ‘Story of My Life’ to themselves all the time.”

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