Ernest Hemingway wrote many brilliant things. So it comes as no surprise that he had many brilliant things to say about the art and craft of writing.
One pearl of wisdom that I return to often when I get stuck in my own writing is this: remember to just tell the truth. Write something true. It doesn’t have to be big; it need only be one sentence, so long as you know it’s true.
And I don’t mean true in a factual sense, or accurate in any tangible or measurable way, although I suppose that can work too. I mean…
Constant interruptions are are the destruction of the imagination.— Joyce Carol Oates
Your number one responsibility (outside of the obvious one, which is writing) is to protect your time.
Or, as Ryder Carroll writes, “you can’t make time, you can only take time.”
And when you take the time to sit down and write, guard it as if your life depends on it.
Because enemies are lying in wait everywhere.
Throw away your television.
Close your browser tabs.
Quiet the noise in your own head.
When you’re writing, shut the door.
Put your phone in your desk drawer.
Along the way, we’ve also been brainwashed into believing that creativity is a gift, something mysterious that the muse hands to a few select people. We’re not to look at it too closely or it might disappear. — Seth Godin
It’s easy to get stuck in preparation mode.
It’s easy to get stuck planning and plotting and waiting for the perfect conditions under which you can create your best work.
It’s easy to get so caught up in these activities that you never actually do anything besides plan.
James Clear defines this dilemma as motion vs. action trap.
Except to the most avid seekers of wisdom, Stoicism is either unknown or misunderstood. To the average person, this vibrant, action-oriented, and paradigm-shifting way of living has become shorthand for “emotionlessness.” Given the fact that the mere mention of philosophy makes most nervous or bored, “Stoic philosophy” on the surface sounds like the last thing anyone would want to learn about, let alone urgently need in the course of daily life. — The Daily Stoic
I don’t think enough people fully understand or appreciate the value proposition of Stoicism.
This is what allows so many to dismiss it out of…
It’s been said of today’s political climate that it doesn’t so much matter what is being said. What is far more important is who is saying it and what “team” they play for.
And I find it very difficult to disagree. Of course, this arrangement is ass-backward.
It also reminds me of a quote from Christopher Hitchens about independent thinking from his book, Letters to a Young Contrarian:
“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”
An independent mind is a rare thing these days. It is perhaps even so rare…
At once [the buffalo] is a symbol of the tenacity of wilderness and the destruction of wilderness…it represents a frontier both forgotten and remembered; it stands for freedom and captivity, extinction and salvation.
— Steven Rinella
I had a sociology professor in college who was quite popular on campus and gave a well-known lecture at the end of every semester that grew quite famous by the end of his tenure there.
People who weren’t even in the class would crowd into the auditorium on that final day just to hear it. …
A common trap many inexperienced writers fall into is creating characters that are too close to perfect.
They don’t have any real flaws.
They don’t endure any real hardships.
They don’t struggle.
They don’t fight.
Things just kind of come easy to them.
They sort of just wander around storyland with limited hardship, facing mundane challenges, and things just kind of…happen.
But the obvious problem with this is that is boring.
When awful, bad, terrible, hard things don’t happen the character succeeds too often and it doesn’t feel justified.
Subconsciously readers will begin to resent this.
Not only because the…
There are lots of good reasons to wake up early.
But the best one is psychological.
Getting out of bed when you don’t feel like it is a small, but important win that allows you to immediately build momentum to start your day.
Sure you could hit snooze and wake up fifteen minutes later or a half-hour later.
Maybe even hit it a few more times. Get an extra hour or two. Sleep is important after all.
But the thing is, every time you hit snooze, it’s a loss.
Hit it multiple times?
Multiple losses to start your day.
There are a great many things my past self did that my present self is decidedly not thankful for.
I won’t go into them here, but let’s just say I’ve never been great at delayed gratification. I’m inherently lazy and prone to extreme and prolonged bouts of mediocrity. No matter the endeavor, I always seem to find myself struggling to stay the course long enough to see the payoff.
It’s kind of a theme I’ve been ruminating on lately and something I’m working really hard on changing. Taking the long view. Zooming out. Developing a low time preference. …
The term nonlinear refers to a statistical scenario where there is not a direct relationship between two variables. Meaning, changes to one of the inputs does not change the outputs in a direct, straight-line proportion. For example, a large increase in an input may only result in a marginal gain in output or vice versa.
This perfectly encapsulates the returns, financial or otherwise, one can expect to receive for their creative endeavors.
Creative returns are nonlinear.
When you sit down to write for two hours, you don’t always receive two hours of output in return: the writing may be subpar…
technical writer by day | indie author & blogger by night