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On my google page I collect Quote of the Day and in my email, a Daily Inspirational quote.

Because I’m still nose to grindstone with my manuscript-due-June 16, I went looking for some inspirational quotations about writing to get me through. (Yes yes I do realize that by doing this my nose has strayed from the grindstone)

Here are some Writing Quotations I found (Diane comments are in red):

There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith (a vein??)

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler (More blood?)

So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it. ~Harold Acton, Memoirs of an Aesthete, 1948 (Do you mean if I write, I might be wrecking some paper?)

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy (These quotes are not exactly inspiring me…)

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. ~Franz Kafka (Okay. Now I’m depressed)

Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~Joseph Heller (Aw, thanks, Joe. That’s reassuring)

Loafing is the most productive part of a writer’s life. ~James Norman Hall (I know! I know!)

There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. ~William Makepeace Thackeray (This is more like it)

Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn’t we? ~Audra Foveo-Alba (I’ve been asking myself this very question)

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth (Sigh!)

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov (I’m reassured)

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov (This is what I aspire to do!)

As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out. ~Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894 (Um…isn’t this contradicting Chekhov?)

When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don’t state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint.
~Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) (Oh)

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. ~Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895 (That’s the ticket!)

Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider how it is spelled, and, if you do not remember, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well. THomas Jefferson (oh oh. Now we’re getting into mechanics)

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. ~Orson Scott Card (What’s a metaphor?)

A metaphor is like a simile. ~Author Unknown (Oh)

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~Mark Twain (But what if you can’t think of lightning, because lightning bug is stuck in your mind…)

A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one. ~Baltasar Gracián (Isn’t it, though!)

A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. ~Henry David Thoreau (Yipes)

Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don’t start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, “Great Rules of Writing” (Uh…very helpful, Bill)

The maker of a sentence launches out into the infinite and builds a road into Chaos and old Night, and is followed by those who hear him with something of wild, creative delight. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson (Yeah!)

Writer’s block is a disease for which there is no cure, only respite. ~Laurie Wordholt (I’m starting to get nervous again)

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener (Me, too, Jimmy)

Writing comes more easily if you have something to say. ~Sholem Asch (Ain’t that the truth!)

The ablest writer is only a gardener first, and then a cook… ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827 (Haven’t I told you before that I am so-not-a-cook? I’m even worse at gardening)

My language is the common prostitute that I turn into a virgin. ~Karl Kraus (Karl, there is no need to get crude)

It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write. ~Sinclair Lewis
(That’s me! I’m going to write.)

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart… William Wordsworth
(Ah, now this is inspiration!)

Writing only leads to more writing. ~ Colette
(one can hope!)

Tell us your favorite writing quote!

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Today is the anniversary of two military events that had nothing to do with the Regency period: In 1415, Henry V won the Battle of Agincourt, one of the attempts by England to get a foothold in France (and am I the only person who prefers the Olivier version over the Branagh film?).

And in 1854, thanks to bungled orders, political infighting among officers, and the famed stiff upper lip, the Charge of the Light Brigade took place, when the 13th Hussars charged directly into enemy guns during the Crimean War; as a French general commented, “C’est magnifique mais ce ne pas la guerre.” (Roughly translated as: it’s magnificent, but not war. Well, it sounds better in French.)

I’d hazard a guess that we remember these events by the two poets who immortalized them rather by the history. Here’s an excerpt from the famous St. Crispin’s Day speech by Shakespeare:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Tennyson, another master of the soundbite, immortalized the Charge of the Light Brigade, a peom that, if you are an English person of a certain age, you had drummed into you at school, or at least the more quotable bits of it:

Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Would we remember these two events–the English tried for a couple more centuries to claim bits of France, but failed; and the famous Charge was a tactical blunder of monumental stupidity–if it weren’t for the poets?

What are your favorite quotes? Any from romance?

Jane Lockwood is blogging over at History Hoydens today and there’s a contest! Also don’t forget to sign up for the Riskies newsletter at

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