HANGING BY OUR COMPUTER IS a sheet of paper I look to for inspiration. Sometimes it inspires me, sometimes it depresses me, but always it gets me back on the horse. It’s called “Why (and How) We Write.” If you too find it useful, please hang it by your computer.
1. Do it for the buzz.
— Stephen King
2. Finish what you start. Keep submitting until it sells.
— Robert Heinlein
3. a) Fanaticize yourself
b) Fanaticize something greater than yourself
c) “Sheer delight in what you are doing.”
— Robert Anton Wilson
4. a) Arrange events in linear order
b) Now arrange them in narrative order.
c) Write the story.
d) Revise the story.
— H. P. Lovecraft
5. “Most of the characteristics which make for success in writing are precisely those which we are all taught to repress … the firm belief that you are an important person, that you are a lot smarter than most people, and that your ideas are so damned important that everybody should listen to you.”
— Robert Anton Wilson, reprise
AND AFTER ALL IS SAID and done, and the horrible truth revealed
The bodies taken away, the last question answered
Comes William S Burroughs
(the gravelly graandpa who’s done things the grownups won’t let you ask him about).
“Interdimensional Alka Seltzer,” he says, proffering a grey fizzing mug,
and sits down beside you.
You take the cup.
He speaks volumes with his eyes
(they’ve seen it all, long before you were born)
but his mouth only says
what you wish it always wouldn’t:
“That’s just the way it is, Out Here.”