Know that you have talent, are original, and have something important to say. - Brenda Ueland

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Children (who grow into adult readers) everywhere are happy for editors like her.

From Shelf Awareness:

"I was taken out to luncheon and offered, with great ceremony, the opportunity to be an editor in the adult department. The implication, of course, was that since I had learned to publish books for children with considerable success perhaps I was now ready to move along (or up) to the adult field. I almost pushed the luncheon table into the lap of the pompous gentleman opposite me and then explained kindly that publishing children's books was what I did, that I couldn't possibly be interested in books for dead dull finished adults, and thank you very much but I had to get back to my desk to publish some more good books for bad children."

-- Ursula Nordstrom, who was head of Harper's department of books for boys and girls from 1940 to 1973 (from the book Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, which was showcased by the Brain Pickings blog).

Good books for bad children. Love it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Inventing a horse

Today a friend reminded me of the poem, Inventing a Horse by Meghan O'Rourke, and likened it to inventing the life you want.

Inventing a horse is not easy.
One must not only think of the horse.
One must dig fence posts around him.
One must include a place where horses like to live;

It's true. Creating and living the life you've always wanted doesn't just happen. You don't stumble onto it. You have to make it and be fierce about protecting it and feeding it so it will thrive.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Don’t waste your doubts. Use them to move you forward into that forest, into the pages of that story that you must write.

From the blog post, Does the world really need your story:

When Madeleine L’Engle’s husband says of her new work, “It’s been said better before,” she responds, “Of course, it has. It’s all been said better before. If I thought I had to say it better than anybody else, I’d never start. Better or worse is immaterial. The thing is that it has to be said, by me, ontologically. We each have to say it, to say it our own way. Not of our own will, but as it comes out through us. Good or bad, great or little: that isn’t what human creation is about. It is that we have to try, to put it down in pigment, or words, or musical notations, or we die.”

7 truths about writers

By Joanna Penn on Write to Done:

We are deeply creative but sometimes forget this.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters, on why she writes

Thanks to The Divining Wand for this lovely series of posts by writers:

The page has infinite patience. It lets me say ridiculous things and then retract them a moment later without judgment. It allows me to change my mind at will, to wander off on seemingly unrelated tangents and then circle back around to find the perfect thing to say. It is as broad and as narrow as I need it to be at any moment.

Someone asked me recently why I read, and my answer was instantaneous: to understand, and to connect. And I think these are the same reasons I write. In stories, as both a reader and a writer, I am trying on lives, meeting new people, learning. I am twelve, lying on the linoleum of the kitchen floor, the phone cord twisted around my finger, talking my way through the mysteries of life with my closest friends.

Read the entire post here.