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My Top 5 Writing Quotes! Sandra Harris

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Sandra Harris

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I love a good writing quote, especially the way that whiling away a few minutes reading them and being inspired by them makes me feel like I’m doing something almost as useful as writing itself, lol. Here, in no particular order, are my five all-time favourites:

1. Sylvia Plath: ‘Everything in life is write-able about, if you only have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.’ I love this one. I realised the truth of it one day in late summer this year when I was trying to eat a sandwich in the park, whilst being watched by about a hundred hungry pigeons and seagulls who each made it plain by their threatening demeanour that they’d kill me for a bite of bread and a nibble of chicken if they could get away with it. I then went home and wrote a blog post about how the birds are trying to take over the world. See? Subject-wise, the world is your oyster.

2. Dorothy Parker: ‘I hate writing, but I love having written.’ I love this one even more. It’s so me. The pride and relief I feel after having finished a piece of work is immense, and worth any amount of effort. But if you saw me beforehand, procrastinating, dilly-dallying, dawdling, time-wasting and choosing to do anything at all rather than sit down and write, you’d think I didn’t like writing at all. But I more than like it, I love it. I’m probably just lazy, like everyone else who’d prefer to clean out the fridge (a job I loathe) rather than sit down to write. But, once you do, the pay-off is always worth it, trust me.
The pay-off from writing something, I mean, not from cleaning out the fridge. The most you get from cleaning out the fridge is a leaky rubbish bag filled with soggy veggies you swore you’d eat this time but which, once again, have perished alone and friendless on the middle shelf of your Beko, Bosch or Zanussi.

3. Edgar Lawrence Doctorow: ‘Writing is like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights. But you can make the whole trip that way.’
This one is perfect for me. It describes me so well. I’m a pantser rather than a plotter, and, when I’m writing a novel or a continuing story, I only ever plan one day’s writing in advance. That is to say, I just need to know what I’m putting down on paper that day, and tomorrow’s plot will have to wait. Every novel I’ve every finished was written in this way. It probably gives plotters and planners major conniptions, but it’s just the way I roll, lol.

4. ‘The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write.’ This quote is attributable to someone called Hugh Kearns, with whom I’m not familiar, but it’s a great quote. It basically means that you writing is always a million times better than you not writing, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s always better to just write something, rather than writing nothing. You can fix a bad manuscript, but there’s not much you can do about a blank space. (Except fill it with your words…!)

5. William Faulkner: ‘I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.’ This is one of my absolute favourite writing quotes. If you wait for your muse to show up, you could be waiting a while. But sit yourself down in that chair at the same time every day, making sure that you have a few ideas rattling around in your head first, and something will happen. Even if it’s a load of old rubbish, remember Writing Quote Number Four? ‘The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write?’ Exactly. But you’ve got to show up for anything at all to happen. Just show up, and the words will do the rest. Happy writing!

By Sandra Harris. ©

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