"Everything has already been said and done. But, then, if this is so, why do we need more poems in the world? I once read a Jane Hirshfield interview where she said something quite wonderful. She essentially said we have to keep writing because it’s every generation’s job to put in the present vernacular poems that are called upon for rites of passage, such as poems read at weddings or funerals. I hadn’t thought of this before. Your ordinary citizen should be able to go to the library and find a poem written in the current vernacular, and the responsibility for every generation of writers is to make this possible. We must, then, rewrite everything that has ever been written in the current vernacular, which is really what the evolution of literature is all about. Nothing new gets said but the vernacular keeps changing."
"It seems like many people think that if you drive yourself crazy, then you can write. I’m absolutely not interested in that. It made sense to me to be as whole and well as I could be, and as happy. I wanted to see what a fortunate life would produce. What writing would come out of a mind that didn’t try to torment itself? What did I have to know? What did I have to do rather than what can I torment and bend myself into doing? What was the fruit on that tree?"
"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up."
"The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart."
"When in doubt, the rule of threes is a rule that plays well with all of storytelling. When describing a thing? No more than three details. A character’s arc? Three beats. A story? Three acts. An act? Three sequences. A plot point culminating in a mystery of a twist? At least three mentions throughout the tale. This is an old rule, and a good one. It’s not universal — but it’s a good place to start. –"
"Beware of self-indulgence. The romance surrounding the writing profession carries several myths: that one must suffer in order to be creative; that one must be cantankerous and objectionable in order to be bright; that ego is paramount over skill; that one can rise to a level from which one can tell the reader to go to hell. These myths, if believed, can ruin you.
If you believe you can make a living as a writer, you already have enough ego."
"To the composition of novels and romances, nothing is necessary but paper, and ink, with the manual capacity of using them."
"Rereading parts of your novel while writing is like doubling back at rerunning parts of a marathon midrace."
"Rejected pieces aren’t failure; unwritten pieces are."
"People say to write about what you know. I’m here to tell you, no one wants to read that, because you don’t know anything. So write about something you don’t know. And don’t be scared, ever."