The Courage to Write Quotes

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The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes
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“Fear is felt by writers at every level. Anxiety accompanies the first word they put on paper and the last.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“...wrote Lawrence Block. "Someone once told me that fear and courage are like lightning and thunder; they both start out at the same time, but the fear travels faster and arrives sooner. If we just wait a moment, the requisite courage will be along shortly." (quoted from Write for Your Live by Lawrence Block)”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“Willa Cather said that she write best when she stopped trying to write and began simply to remember.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“...fear and courage are like lightning and thunder; they both sart out at the same time, but the fear travels faster and arrives sooner. If we just wait a moment, the requisite courage will be along shortly.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“One of the most fundamental of human fears is that our existence will go unnoticed.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“Any writing exposes writers to judgment about the quality of their work and their thought. The closer they get to painful personal truths, the more fear mounts—not just about what they might reveal but about what they might discover should they venture too deeply inside. To write well, however, that’s exactly where we must venture.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“One thing that separates would-be writers from working writers is that the latter know their work will never match their dreams.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“I put on several different outfits. The advantage of not knowing who you are is you can attempt to be all things to all men … or women. My mother saw me always glancing in every mirror, every window; in the gleaming blades of knives. She said, “Jill is vain.” She did not know I was looking to see who would be there this time.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“Henrik Ibsen hung a picture of August Strindberg over his desk. “He is my mortal enemy and shall hang there and watch while I write!” explained Ibsen.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“I prefer a man who is unskillful, who is an awkward writer, but who has something to say, who is dealing himself one time on every page.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“writing about something was not the moral equivalent of doing it,”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“Writing is merely public speaking on paper, but to a much larger audience.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“Aspiring only to second-place goals is a first-rate way to hedge our bets. Among the least appreciated reasons for doing superficial, second-rate work of any kind is the comfort of knowing that it’s not our best that’s on the line. Far more is at risk when we do what we really want to do rather than something less. I don’t think we’ll ever fully appreciate the role of not daring to risk a shattered dream in limiting people to second-choice careers and third-choice lives.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“Fear flushes clogged pores of perception.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“Find tricks to keep yourself going,” William Least Heat Moon once advised a group of aspiring writers. “Anything you can do to trick yourself out of panicking, do it.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“Christopher Isherwood tried to trick a good topic into rising from his unconscious by irritating it, “deliberately writing nonsense until it intervenes, as it were, saying, ‘All right, you idiot, let me fix this.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“If you are in difficulties with a book,” suggested H. G. Wells, “try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn’t expecting it.” This was one way Gail Godwin learned to outfox her “watcher” (the inner critic who kept an eye on her as she worked): looking for times to write when she was off guard. Other tactics Godwin found helpful included writing too fast and in unexpected places and times; working when tired; writing in purple ink on the back of charge card statements; and jotting down whatever came to mind while a tea kettle boiled, using its whistle as a deadline. “Deadlines are a great way to outdistance the watcher,” advised Godwin.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“When members of the London Poetry Society asked Browning to interpret a particularly difficult passage of Sordello, he read it twice, frowned, then admitted, "When I wrote that, God and I knew what I meant, but now God alone knows."

Rather than risk sounding dense, readers, colleagues, and critics who can't figure out what a writer is trying to say but think it sounds intelligent will typically resort to calling such work "daring," "provocative," or "complex." An unholy alliance of writers and readers is at work here.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“Success as a writer is within the grasp of whoever can tell a story on paper that people want to hear, and is willing to persist, to put up with boredom, frustration, and anxiety.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
“The most understandable trap is to wait for fear to subside before starting one’s journey. It doesn’t, won’t, and shouldn’t. Too much good writing comes from writers on the edge. Trying to defeat or portage around normal writing anxieties merely postpones the day when we confront our fears directly and find the courage to write.”
Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear