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, 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.
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
Happy Birthday, Gail Carson Levine, born 17 September 1947
The Writer’s Oath
I promise solemnly: 1. to write as often and as much as I can, 2. to respect my writing self, and 3. to nurture the writing of others. I accept these responsibilities and shall honour them always.
Establish writing habits, whatever they are, a particular time to write, a number of pages that have to be written, a time goal. If you choose my method, the time goal, write it down as you go. Don’t let it be vague.
Know that you are a writer and your obligation, possibly your calling, is to write. Writing is your fallback position. As much as you can, avoid judging your work. When you find yourself doing it, shift your thoughts elsewhere.
There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you’ve read only once can’t.
A library is infinity under a roof.
Why do you keep reading a book? Usually to find out what happens. Why do you give up and stop reading it? There may be lots of reasons. But often the answer is you don’t care what happens. So what makes the difference between caring and not caring? The author’s cruelty. And the reader’s sympathy … it takes a mean author to write a good story.
It is helpful to know the proper way to behave, so one can decide whether or not to be proper.
When you become a teenager, you step onto a bridge. You may already be on it. The opposite shore is adulthood. Childhood lies behind. The bridge is made of wood. As you cross, it burns behind you.
As for my characters, I discover them as I write. When they feel blank I use the character questionnaire you can find in Writing Magic. The one thing I do do is visualize. I need to see my characters moving through a scene, to know where they are and what they’re seeing, hearing, touching, smelling.
When I write, I make discoveries about my feelings.
The reason I work anywhere is because I trained myself to be able to many years ago after reading Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande. I travel a fair amount, and I don’t want my work to grind to a halt whenever I leave home. People who can write only when the moon is full and the stars are in a certain alignment don’t finish many books.
Happy Birthday, William Carlos Williams, born 17 September 1883, died 4 March 1963
My first poem was a bolt from the blue … it broke a spell of disillusion and suicidal despondence. … it filled me with soul satisfying joy.
In description words adhere to certain objects, and have the effect on the sense of oysters, or barnacles.
If they give you lined paper, write the other way.
One thing I am convinced more and more is true and that is this: the only way to be truly happy is to make others happy. When you realize that and take advantage of the fact, everything is made perfect.
The job of the poet is to use language effectively, his own language, the only language which is to him authentic.
I keep writing largely because I get a satisfaction from it which can’t be duplicated elsewhere. It fills the moments which otherwise are either terrifying or depressed.
I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.
But all art is sensual and poetry particularly so. It is directly, that is, of the senses, and since the senses do not exist without an object for their employment all art is necessarily objective. It doesn’t declaim or explain, it presents.
Poets are damned but they are not blind, they see with the eyes of angels.
Williams was an American poet closely associated with modernism and imagism. He was also a paediatrician. Williams, ‘worked harder at being a writer than he did at being a physician’, but excelled at both.