Monday, June 3, 2013

Reads for Writers: Walking on Alligators--Quotes and Insights About Writing by Susan Shaughnessy

From Kate's Writing Crate...


Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy is, as the back cover states, a daily motivator for people who write—and people who long to write. The black and silver cover can be off-putting: a skeleton walking over five alligators, mouths agape, with drawings of flowers, fruit, the alphabet, and an alarm clock raining down. Go beyond it to the wisdom and writing advice inside.

Each page starts with a quote by a writer or successful person followed by insights written by Shaughnessy. At the end, there is a suggested writing goal—perfect for writers who are blocked or procrastinating.

Among the quotes:

Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.   –Roy L. Smith

Opportunity just exists in the air for a few minutes. If you don't obey your gut feeling right away, you've lost your chance.   –Ken Hakuta
Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world.   –Tom Clancy
I write for a couple of hours every day, even if I only get a couple of sentences. I put in that time. You do that every day, and inspiration will come along. I don't allow myself not to keep trying. It's not fun, but if you wait until you want to write, you'll never do it.   –Dave Barry
One of the marks of a gift is to have the courage of it.   –Katherine Anne Porter
The novelist's job is to reveal and unfold, not simply portray. The novelist works with the things that pass unobserved by others, captures them in motion, brings them out into the open.   –Joao Guimaraes Rosa
We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.   –Charles Kingsley
Among Shaughnessy's insights:
It's a dreadful fact that writing is like any other work. Having written is another matter. It is a joy; it is fulfillment. (p. 26)
…sit with your project. Even a couple of lines is progress. And, more important, it is the victory of writing every day. (p. 98)
To write is to move beyond wanting to write. It is to take a step toward constructing the future you want. (p. 99)
Your gift will grow in proportion as you exercise it. Your courage will grow in proportion as you feed it. (p. 137)
[Readers] ask of you that you lay out for them the essential truths that are hard to know and hard to say. (p. 158)
Write to increase your own understanding, and to share your discoveries simply and vividly. (p. 187)
Unseen forces support you. Unknown wells supply you. Your work will be rewarded…If writing is to be a part of your life, the time to write is now. (p. 203)
Honor your gift/calling, keep writing.

What writing quotes inspire you?

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