This Is How You and I Are Gonna Remake the World

We're gonna dive in and do this well; we're gonna fling ourselves into a fictitious universe and write our way out. Here's some courage for that crazy road. |

It takes an incredible amount of focus, energy, and determination to fling your brain into a fictitious universe. 

I mean... think about it. We are creating a different reality and then trying to jump into it

That takes some work. Right?  A ton of focus, courage, boldness, willingness, and all the imagination power you can muster.

Also? It's Monday. 

So let's get a pep talk from a bunch of other creatives, other world-jumpers. 

Below are thirty of my favorite quotes for the writing journey. Quotes for this mysterious, shadowy, reality-jumping side of the writing life.

Think of it as a big shot of caffeine for all of us who are chasing our stories.

Woo hoo!

One of the few things I know about writing is this: Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. -- Annie Dillard

Don't be so afraid of giving yourself away, either, for if you write, you must. And if you can't face that, better not write. -- Katherine Anne Porter

To write truly good stories, stories that will satisfy you as well as your readers, you must do something no writing teacher, no book, no guidelines, can help you with. You must take risks. Knowing your craft can help you tell a story. But only by taking risks can you make art. -- Marion Dane Bauer

Good writing comes from writers on the edge. -- Ralph Keyes

You have to write your own book. The one only you can write. No one else. This takes fearlessness, but the exciting good news is doing the book teaches you the fearlessness you need. -- Heather Sellers

We have to be braver. ... Quotes for the writing journey on

You have it inside you to fight this fight. Write, think about what you write, then write some more. -- James Scott Bell

Always attempt the impossible to improve your work. -- Bette Davis, note to self

Sometimes the mind needs to come at things sideways. -- Jeff VanderMeer

Write. Write badly, write beautifully, write at night. Stay up way too late, ruin your skin, forget to shave, grow your hair long at your age, and write and write and write and write. Make a mess. Don't clean it up. Do it your way. ... This is your book. -- Heather Sellers

I believe that solitude, perhaps more than anything, breeds creativity, breeds originality. -- Elizabeth Berg

I am learning to see loneliness as a seed that, when planted deep enough, can grow into writing that goes back out into the world. -- Kathleen Norris

You find yourself writing your way out of loneliness, writing your own company. -- Barbara Abercrombie

The uncharted path is the only road to something new. -- Scott Belsky

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. -- Rudyard Kipling

I get ready every night. I pack for the trip. I load my dream mind, hoping I will wake in the morning inspired, clear, and refreshed. I read good books. I have my journal by my bed. Every night, I'm getting ready for my writing morning. I point myself that way.  -- Heather Sellers

The primary purpose of imagery is not to entertain but to awaken in the reader his or her own sense of wonder. -- Tom Robbins

How all good writing is built. ... Quotes for the mysterious, shadowy side of writing on

I don't know anything when I start. The only thing I know is that I'm starting. -- Richard Bausch

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. -- E.L. Doctorow

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Writers steer by wonder and desire. -- Heather Sellers

All writing is dreaming. -- Jorge Luis Borges

The impulse for much writing is homesickness. You are trying to get back home. -- Joan Didion

Embrace passion as a daily practice. -- Donald Maass

You must have a belief in your vision and voice that is nothing short of fierce. -- Betsy Lerner

Be Careless, Reckless! Be a Lion! Be a Pirate! When You Write. -- Brenda Ueland

There is so much about the process of writing that is mysterious to me, but this one thing I've found to be true: writing begets writing. -- Dorianne Laux

Be the fearless, shadowy, wild writer that you are. ... Thirty quotes for the mysterious, shadowy side of writing on

Yes! Yes! THAT!

... And here's the last one, which is a long, granddaddy of a quote, but here we go anyway because it's lovely:

    If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.
     You must write every single day of your life.
     ... I wish for you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime.
     I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you.
     May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories. ...
     Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world. 
-- Ray Bradbury

There it is, my lovelies. The best kind of sustenance for this journey we're on. 

Your turn: Any favorite quotes that help you be a reality-jumper? a dweller in a fictitious time and place? 

Which of the above quotes will you be using to dive into your alternate reality this week? 

Happy dreaming, my friends! Happy writing, lionhearts.

The Best Book I've Read on Managing My Creative Work

If you do creative work, you *need* this book. |

The process of writing a novel used to go something like this for me: 1. Have idea. 2. Have PANIC.

Because suddenly there is a massive lot of ideas showing up (if I'm lucky), and they're each bringing a dozen more ideas (if I'm lucky), which translates into a million things for me to do. If I'm lucky.

Which is great. Which is grand. Which is why I love this big crazy career in the first place.

But it also kind of feels like trying to catch the whole Earth with your teeth.

I get overwhelmed. That's what I mean.

How do you deal with a massive idea overload, with the zillion steps it takes to complete a writing project? How do you organize it, how do you survive the slog, how do you--?

Enter: This book.

Making Ideas Happen, by Scott Belsky, will change your organization game forever. |

You guys. You GUYS. Making Ideas Happen is SO GOOD. (The title alone just kinda calms me down.)

And I deeply appreciate that Scott Belsky is writing for creatives. He's writing to the artists and designers and jewelry makers and entrepreneurs and to all of us lovely writers. 

He's helping us get organized. 

He dispels the whole myth that organization could zap creativity, or that creativity only occurs in chaos. He gives reasonable and reliable tips for how to become more organized, and how to deal with long-term projects.

Which, hello, is what we all need. Because if a novel isn't a long-term project, I don't know what is.

So he talks about how to break down your huge projects into smaller steps, how to be more prone to action than to procrastination, how to deal with every stray idea that floats through your head. 

He gives you a bazillion ideas for how to execute your ideas: how to act on them, how to lean into the process, how to keep going through the huge massive middle of your project (which he calls the Project Plateau--how much do I love that name?!). 

How do you keep working hard? How do you use the people around you--their willingness to support you, their creativity, their unique skills? 

And then how do you lead yourself well? (Because you know I LOVE that topic!) Are you motivated by the right things? How do you stick it out through failure, through uncertainty, through discouragement?

Reading Scott Belsky's awesome organizational guide for creatives: Making Ideas Happen. |

And he has a pleasant, encouraging tone all the way through, that left me with a huge pile of notes and a deep sense of empowerment. 

I mean, listen to this:

"It is not naïve or a cliché to say that the creative mind holds the answers to all of the world's problems. It is merely a fact. And so, you should balance your desire to use your creativity with a sense of responsibility.

Please take yourself and your creative pursuits seriously. Your ideas must be treated with respect because their importance truly does extend beyond your own interests. Every living person benefits from a world that is enriched with ideas made whole." -- Scott Belsky

Right? Right?? 

He is extremely passionate about helping us creative sorts figure this out, because, basically, that's how to save the world. 

Suddenly learning how to manage the different stages of a project takes on--if not a sense of the glamorous--a real weightiness. It keeps me taking this seriously. It isn't just "oh, shrug, who cares, it's just a novel." 

And coming from that place, that dedication, I feel like I want to implement the ideas in this book. ALL of them.

I think you will too.

So, go ahead. Grab a copy.

And then let's make some ideas happen.