Let me do something new today. I’ll share a few of my favourite quotes on writing and shall try and explain why they mean so much to me. The objective is not to explain the quote itself, because you can understand them as well as I can, it is to share why it resonates with me.
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”: One of the things I have struggled with, and indeed continue to struggle with, is to understand when it is time to stop editing sentence or a paragraph. Each time you look at it, you feel you should change a word here or a punctuation there to maximize it’s impact on your reader . Finally, it’s done and you can better it no more. The eyes of the reader skims over what you have written in a few seconds. She doesn’t know that it took you hours to perfect it, to the best of your ability.
“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen,” wrote Willa Cather. They say your early childhood has a tremendous impact on the way you think and behave. It was no different for me. I began reading early and by the age of 10 was described by my Housemaster at school to be “a voracious reader.” My interest in wars, the military, and psychology ( though I didn’t quite use this term in those days) was born out of the books I read. My imagination soared with stories and in my circle of friends, I was the storyteller. Looking back on those times, decades later, I am happy that I read so extensively in those years. This habit stayed with me for life. I like to think I developed my observation skills as a child and learnt to be a good listener early in life. These traits have helped me immensely in my writing.
In future posts, I would like to share a few more quotations on writing and why they mean so much to me.