5 Thoughts: Why (and How) We Write

2010.07.15
By

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.
e) FINALISE.
– 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

Fable, With Apocalypse

IN THE MIDDLE OF A flat grey wasteland, under a grey streaky sky, a handful of figures warmed themselves at a snapping fire.

“Hey! What are you doing?”

One of the figures had turned to stare across the waste — a vast landscape of broken dryers and tumbledown swingsets, with here and there half a gas station or bowling alley.

“Don’t do that.”

He takes the gaping figure and turns him tenderly toward the flames to warm his hands again.

“Thanks.”

“It’s why I’m here. And that” — a sweeping arm — “is why that’s there. The wasteland is only for wasting you.”

“Thanks again.”

“Don’t mention it. Just keep your hands warm. Even when you’re the last one here.”

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(See Also: Robert Anton Wilson / HP Lovecraft / Writing / 5 Thoughts / Text As Life)

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