Slogging along on a manuscript or other piece of writing? Taking longer to finish than you expected? Exhausted trying to complete that description, paragraph, sentence, scene, dialogue, or other story element? Mr. Leonard just might have been on to something when it comes to writing.
Elmore Leonard (October 11th, 1925 – August 20th, 2013) was a novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter. His earliest novels were westerns but he didn’t limit his work to that genre. Among his best-known works are “Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight,” “Hombre,” “Mr. Majestyk,” “Rum Punch” (adapted as the film “Jackie Brown”), and short stories that became the films “3:10 to Yuma” and “The Tall T,” as well as the FX television series, “Justified.”
A longtime friend of mine and an avid reader, Greg Holley, sent me this excellent quote from Carl Sagan on the magic of both reading and writing so I thought I would share it here.
“Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”
I’ve been away from the Internet for the last few weeks taking a summer vacation and just relaxing. As for writing, I think this sums up the entirety of my summer:
“Bad writing precedes good writing. This is an infallible rule, so don’t waste time trying to avoid bad writing. (That just slows down the process.) Anything committed to paper can be changed. The idea is to start and go from there.” –Janet Hulstrand
“Self-doubt, exhaustion, and confusion are part of the process. Embrace them and don’t stop writing to examine what you have. The world is full of people trying to perfect chapter one.” –Kerry Greenwood
“If you are struggling with writing a character, write 20 things a reader will never know about your character. These will naturally bleed into your writing and provide a richness even though you don’t share the detail.” –Barbara Poelle
Elizabeth Hardwick was an American literary critic, novelist, and short story writer. For a list of her available work visit Amazon.com: Elizabeth Hardwick.
Today marks my seventieth birthday. It’s been an interesting run through life at this point and I am hopeful there are more wonderful times yet to come. I think having a good sense of humor helps us get through the ups and downs of whatever the years throw at us thus the title I selected for this blog post.
I’m tempted to expound upon the humor of being seventy as the blog title illustrates. For instance, “I’m now eighteen with fifty-two years of experience”. Or, “I’m too young to be seventy.” And how about, “I’m 70 in years but 20 in spirit!”
Humor aside, I think author Victoria Erickson has a good take on aging for all of us, especially writers:
It is no secret one of my favorite authors is Ray Bradbury. He penned and published some wonderfully interesting work including ‘Illustrated Man’, ‘Dandelion Wine’, ‘The Martian Chronicles’, ‘Fahrenheit 451’, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, and so many more.
He also left us with some inspiring and often amusing sayings. Here’s one of my favorites:
February 29th has arrived, the month almost over, and my birthday is six days behind me. I’ve finally come up for air after spending the entire month working on wips (works in progress) adding new chapters to the second book in my Celtic murder mystery series, fresh stories in new worlds for my second book of short stories, additional poems for publication, all the while juggling life’s daily (and necessary) interruptions.
Where has the time gone?
Who cares, I’m writing!