How to get the writing done

Just finished the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey and found lots of great quotes about how artists get work done. Currey ends his book with this one—probably because it calls the rest of the book “drivel”—but it might be my favorite.


“There’s no one way—there’s too much drivel on this subject. You’re who you are, not Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe. You write by sitting down and writing. There’s no particular time or place—you suit yourself, your nature. How one works, assuming he’s disciplined, doesn’t matter. If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help. The trick is to make time—not steal it—and produce the fiction. If the stories come, you get them written, you’re on the right track. Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way. The real mystery to crack is you.” -Bernard Malamud


My girl Aggie:

“Many friends have said to me, ‘I never know when you write your books, because I’ve never seen you writing, or even seen you go away to write.’ I must behave rather as dogs do when they retire with a bone; they depart in a secretive manner and you do not see them again for an odd half hour. They return self-consciously with mud on their noses. I do much the same. Once I could get away, however, shut the door and get people not to interrupt me, then I was able to go full speed ahead, completely lost in what I was doing.” -Agatha Christie


Substitute “paintings” for “writings”:

“On the other days one is hurrying through the other things one imagines one has to do to keep one’s life going…You may even enjoy doing such things…but always you are hurrying through these things with a certain amount of aggravation so that you can get at the paintings again because that is the high spot—in a way it is what you do all the other things for.” -Georgia O’Keefe


I know these pleasures you speak of, John:

“…I’ve never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think that the pleasures of not writing are so great that if you ever start indulging them you will never write again.” -John Updike


Word, Gertrude:

“If you write a half hour a day it makes a lot of writing year by year. To be sure all day and every day you are waiting around to write that half hour a day.” -Gertrude Stein


And, finally:

“When it all comes together, a creative life has the nourishing power we normally associate with food, love, and faith.” -Twyla Tharp


By Published On: August 30, 2013Categories: Writing, Writing life