I am a writer. I create innovative creative and business writing courses. I inspire others to tell their stories. My company's name is Writers Write. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Birthday, Faith Baldwin, born 1 October 1893, died 18 March 1978
Time is a dressmaker specialising in alterations.
No year of life is emotionally, spiritually or even materially, all drought or all rainfall; nor is it all sun. The road turns a little every day, and one day there’s a sudden twist we didn’t dream was there, and for every loss there is somewhere a gain, for every grief a happiness, for every deprivation a giving.
Sometimes there is a greater lack of communication in facile talking than in silence.
You cannot contribute anything to the ideal condition of mind and heart known as Brotherhood, however much you preach, posture, or agree, unless you live it.
We, too, the children of the earth, have our moon phases all through any year; the darkness, the delivery from darkness, the waxing and waning.
Character builds slowly, but it can be torn down within incredible swiftness.
Only children and a few spiritually evolved people are born to feel gratitude as naturally as they breathe, without even thinking. Most of us come to it step by painful step, to discover that gratitude is a form of acceptance.
Baldwin was a successful American author of romance and fiction. She published 100 novels and became a best-selling writer.
Happy Birthday, Laura Esquivel, born 30 September 1950
To know how to produce a work of art is to know how to discard the extraneous.
Desires and words go hand in hand … they are moved by the same intention to join together, to communicate, to establish bridges between people, whether they are spoken or written.
The simple truth is that the truth does not exist, it all depends on a person’s point of view.
[Words] cling to the very core of our memories and lie there in silence until a new desire reawakens them and recharges them with loving energy…. Like water, words are a wonderful conductor of energy. And the most powerful, transforming energy is the energy of love.
You don’t have to think about love; you either feel it or you don’t.
29 September is International Coffee Day. The day is used to promote fair trade coffee and to raise awareness for the plight of coffee growers.
Authors have always had a lot to say about coffee. We took this excerpt about writers who loved their coffee from our post, Writers of Substance (Abuse) - Famous Writers and their Addictions.
The Coffee Club
Honore de Balzac used to drink 50 cups of coffee a day. He woke at 1 am each day and wrote for seven hours. At 8 am he napped for 90 minutes, then wrote again from 9:30 to 4 pm. He said: ‘As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.’
Søren Kierkegaard had an interesting coffee ritual. He poured sugar into a coffee cup until it was piled up above the rim. Next came the incredibly strong, black coffee, which slowly dissolved the white pyramid. Then he gulped the whole thing down in one go.
Voltaire was said to have drunk 30 - 40 cups of coffee (mixed with chocolate) every day.
Gertrude Stein also loved coffee. She wrote: ‘Coffee gives you time to think. It’s a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.’
Benjamin Franklin had high standards for his coffee. He said: ’Among the numerous luxuries of the table…coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions…is never followed by sadness, languor or debility.’
Alexander Pope enjoyed coffee. He said: ‘Coffee, which makes the politician wise, and see through all things with his half-shut eyes.’
Jean Jacques Rousseau said: ’Ah, that is a perfume in which I delight; when they roast coffee near my house, I hasten to open the door to take in all the aroma.’
Dave Barry wrote: ‘It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.’
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was an enthusiastic coffee drinker.
Jonathan Swift needed coffee at least once a week to write. He said: ‘The best Maxim I know in this life is, to drink your Coffee when you can, and when you cannot, to be easy without it. While you continue to be splenetic, count upon it I will always preach. Thus much I sympathize with you that I am not cheerful enough to write, for I believe Coffee once a week is necessary to that.’
Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Gaskell, born 29 September 1810, died 12 November 1865
Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.
People may flatter themselves just as much by thinking that their faults are always present to other people’s minds, as if they believe that the world is always contemplating their individual charms and virtues.
God has made us so that we must be mutually dependent. We may ignore our own dependence, or refuse to acknowledge that others depend upon us in more respects than the payment of weekly wages; but the thing must be, nevertheless. Neither you nor any other master can help yourselves. The most proudly independent man depends on those around him for their insensible influence on his character - his life.
Similarity of opinion is not always—I think not often—needed for fullness and perfection of love.
The future must be met, however stern and iron it be.
Gaskell was a British novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of society and are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature.
Happy Birthday, Piper Kerman, born September 28, 1969
Well, the act of documenting your story and telling your story the way you want to tell it is really important, especially for folks who are outcasts and have been shamed.
I think that if you set out to write a story about the biggest mistakes you’ve ever made, the worst things you’ve ever done as a person, you have a responsibility to be honest. But also the inherent challenge of writing is you have to have a protagonist that the reader wants to stay with.
We have a racially based justice system that over-punishes, fails to rehabilitate, and doesn’t make us safer.
Prison is quite literally a ghetto in the most classic sense of the world, a place where the U.S. government now puts not only the dangerous but also the inconvenient—people who are mentally ill, people who are addicts, people who are poor and uneducated and unskilled.
Every human being makes mistakes and does things they’re not proud of. They can be everyday, or they can be catastrophic. And the unfortunate truth of being human is that we all have moments of indifference to other people’s suffering. To me, that’s the central thing that allows crime to happen: indifference to other people’s suffering.
Kerman is the author of the memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.
Happy Birthday, Louis Auchincloss, born 27 September 1917, died 26 January 2010
Society matters not so much. Words are everything.
A man can spend his whole existence never learning the simple lesson that he has only one life and that if he fails to do what he wants with it, nobody else really cares.
Only little boys and old men sneer at love.
Perfection irritates as well as it attracts, in fiction as in life.
A neurotic can perfectly well be a literary genius, but his greatest danger is always that he will not recognize when he is dull.
A lot of writers … sit in a log cabin by the lake and put their feet up by the fire in the silence and write. If you can have that that’s all very well, but the true writer will learn to write anywhere — even in prison.
Great lovers have made great sacrifices.
It’s very rare that a character comes to mind complete in himself. He needs additional traits that I often pick from actual people. One way you can cover your tracks is to change the sex.
Your literary style reflects your personality.
Auchincloss was an American lawyer, novelist, historian, and essayist. He is best known as a novelist who explored the experiences and psychology of American polite society and old money.
Happy Birthday, Minette Walters, born 26 September 1949
When I set out to write my story, I did so with the absolute understanding that the people who read it would be intelligent.
I have always been fascinated by the challenge that crime fiction represents to an author. I wanted to know if I could carry an intricate plot for 100,000 words, and keep readers guessing, while I was portraying characters under considerable tension.
My two best working times are from early morning to about 1.30pm and then from about 5pm until 8pm or later.
My major hobby and the way I always unwind is to decorate my house while listening to the many excellent BBC stations on the radio.
The Ice House took me two years to write. a year for my agent to sell it and a year before it was published. By that time I had already finished The Sculptress. It takes me about a year to write a thriller now.
Walters is an English crime writer. She has written 15 books, five of which have been adapted for television, including The Sculptress, The Ice House, The Scold’s Bridle, The Echo, and The Dark Room.
Happy Birthday, Eleanor Catton, born 24 September 1985
Teaching is a great complement to writing. It’s very social and gets you out of your own head. It’s also very optimistic. It renews itself every year - it’s a renewable resource.
I much prefer a plotted novel to a novel that is really conceptual.
I think that writers of literary fiction would do well to read more books for children.
When I was writing ‘The Luminaries,’ I read a lot of crime novels because I wanted to figure out which ones made me go, ‘Ah! I didn’t know that was coming!’
I see disappointment as something small and aggregate rather than something unified or great. With a little effort, every failure can be turned into something good.
I think that you have to keep the reader front and centre if you’re going to write something that people are going to love and be entertained by.
What I like about fiction most is that it resists closure and exists, if the reader is willing to engage, as a possible encounter – an encounter that is like meeting a human being.
I think that’s what fiction writing is actually all about. It’s about trying to solve problems in creative ways.
I believe really strongly in imitation, actually: I think it’s the first place you need to go to if you’re going to be able to understand how something works. True mimicry is actually quite difficult.
I think that, in principle, a workshop is such a beautiful idea - an environment in which writers who are collectively apprenticed to the craft of writing can come together in order to collectively improve.
Catton is a New Zealand author. Her second novel, The Luminaries, won the 2013 Man Booker Prize.
Happy Birthday, Frank Cottrell Boyce, born 23 September 1959
I write because it’s a chance to remind people of just how miraculous and amazing ordinary things are.
I think it’s really important who you write for. A lot of writers say they write to please themselves, which is really pure and good, but I was taken aback when I went to Misheel’s school by how much I wanted to reach the children, please them, make them laugh.
I don’t think films ever change people the way books change people.
I was no great shakes at primary school. Then I got ill and had to stay in bed for a few days and that’s when I read Ursula le Guinrsqus A Wizard of Earthsea - and the way she writes about magic and knowledge in that book made me see for the first time that knowing stuff and learning things was really important and exciting. That book made me clever! In a single afternoon. I’ve never forgotten just how much I owe and what a massive impact that book had on me.
Being read to at school changed my life.
Keep a diary. Not a big soulful one. Buy yourself an oxfam diary – which has great pictures but not much room to write – and just write one sentence per day. Not about yourself. About something funny / sad / strange you saw or heard. It’s a great discipline and at the end, you’ve got a really good read.
I want them to laugh. It’s important to me. There are a lot of people telling kids life isn’t worth living. I want to tell them it’s great.
When I was in year six, I wrote an essay in class that had some jokes in it. The teacher thought it was funny so she read it out to the class.
Novels are hard because you’ve got to have total faith in yourself and no one is going to reassure you till you’ve finished. You start getting feedback from your screenplay before you start writing. With a book, you’re on your own.
People possess books in the way they never do film. You live with a book for weeks and books soak up the circumstances in which you read them. You remember you read it on the beach, or on the train. You own a book in the way you never own a film.
Boyce is a British screenwriter and novelist, known for his children’s fiction and for his collaborations with film director Michael Winterbottom. Boyce won the 2004 Carnegie Medal for Millions, and the 2012 Guardian Prize for The Unforgotten Coat.
Banned Books Week is the book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, book stores and libraries. More than 11 000 books have been challenged since 1982.
The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:
Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
Looking for Alaska, by John Green Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
Bone (series), by Jeff Smith Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence
Happy Birthday, Sarah Rees Brennan, born 21 September 1983
Real life is sometimes boring, rarely conclusive and boy, does the dialogue need work.
I write a chapter plan, constructing plot with several helpful critique partners, and I try to follow it. I think the hardest part of writing a novel is the middle part, where you don’t remember why you started and can’t imagine how you’re going to finish.
Before I was published, I really had no idea what being published entailed: how suddenly I would have to learn, and come to care passionately about, covers and distributions and awards and what hills to die on when you’re editing and how to coax marketing departments and promotional items, and so much else I never dreamed of. It’s like a life-long apprenticeship: you keep on learning. Be ready for the learning!
Write what you want to read. Real enthusiasm sets other people on fire too – and that creates trends.
Think about what your characters want, and what they’re going to get.
Read, a huge amount, and everything you can lay your hands on, in your genre and out.
I have a sort of nebulous audience! A mythical, magical THEY who never really bear any resemblance to the readers I actually have. But I sit there cackling and going ‘THEY will be so upset’ and ‘I hope THEY love this part like I do!’
Find writers who write what you write, with what you feel is a similar sensibility – find out who their agents are (it’ll be in the back of their books) and submit to them!
Horrible things often happen in children’s fiction. Parents have about the same life expectancy as a little piggy in a straw house. But children’s fiction is a genre with a lot of hope in it, a promise of resilience, and in the end, I hold with neither fire nor ice. I am a sucker for a happy ending.
Brennan is an Irish writer. She is best known for young-adult fantasy fiction. She is the author of The Lynburn Legacy and The Demon’s Lexicon series.
Happy Birthday, Donald Hall, born 20 September 1928
Literature starts by being personal, but the deeper we go inside the more we become everybody.
My advice to young poets is pretty standard—read the old people. Read the 17th century. Don’t just read 20th century. Sometimes you get the impression that people think that poetry began in 1984 or something. And read the old boys and revise. Revise endlessly.
I read poems for the pleasure of the mouth. My heart is in my mouth, and the sound of poetry is the way in.
My body causes me trouble when I cross the room, but when I am sitting down writing, I am in my heaven — my old heaven. I began writing when I was 12, I don’t think very well. But I’ve been doing it my whole life. It’s been the centre of my life, with loves and children, but writing is something I have that not everyone has that I adore.
Opposites are attracted when each one is anxious about its own character.
At the beginning, my poems had nothing to do with me, almost all of them. As my life has gone on, one thing I’ve said is I began writing fully clothed and I took off my clothes bit by bit. Now I’m writing naked.
You can not write to be immortal because you will never know. It’s impossible. Just write as well as you can and don’t speculate about whether you will be Chaucer or Shakespeare.
Hall is an American poet, writer, editor and literary critic. He is the author of over 50 books including works of children’s literature, biography, memoir, essays, and 22 volumes of poetry. He was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States from 2006-2007.
Happy Birthday, Keorapetse William Kgositsile, born 19 September 1938
What you know is merely a point of departure. So let’s move.
All things come to pass When they do, if they do All things come to their end When they do, as they do…
University degrees, including doctoral ones, should never be allowed to be terminal, like an illness. It does not stop with being awarded a degree. It can never be a destination; it remains, permanently, a road to be travelled. And that pursuit for knowledge can never be for its own sake; it must be used as an instrument to equip us to be of better service to society; an instrument to enable us to be instrumental agents of our historic mission, which is to create a better future for the majority of our people.
In a situation of oppression, there are no choices beyond didactic writing: either you are a tool of oppression or an instrument of liberation.
But any Time is with us. And if we take control to shape our attitude and reshape our memories, that time is always now, - our time for the best possible uses of our lives.
Beware, my son, words that carry the loudnesses of blind desire also carry the slime of illusion dripping like pus from the slave’s battered back.
Those things in life that matter will give you pain as you learn to understand life.
Kgositsile, also known as ‘Bra Willie’ is a South African poet and political activist. He published his most influential collection My Name is Afrika, in 1971, which established him as a leading African poet. He was inaugurated as South Africa’s National Poet Laureate in 2006.
Happy Birthday, Anna Deavere Smith, born 18 September 1950
Each person has a literature inside them.
You are an explorer. You understand that every time you go into the studio, you are after something that does not yet exist.
Discipline — both mental and physical — is crucial.
Artists are the people that no matter what, pick up the pen, pick up a paintbrush. They take the time to translate what is happening to create something that resonates deeply with the rest of the people that are caught in the middle of their own reality.
Learning is a tunnel experience that makes us think more broadly.
We spend so much time bantering about the words when the real open conversations might very well be our actions. I worry about our rhetoric.
Even jealousy is based on fantasies: a fantasy that someone else has what belongs to you.
I am interested in personal stories because that’s when people become expressive, spontaneous and heartfelt.
You can teach technical things. You can teach people critical facilities. You can give them techniques. You can teach discipline. And you can teach them about the business. So, yes, I think there’s quite a lot that we can teach.
You know, interesting minds usually do hold more than one idea at a time.
Deavere Smith is an American playwright, professor, and actor. She is also the author of Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts – For Actors, Performers, Writers, and Artists of Every Kind