“I’m totally crazy, I know that.”

By: Peter

Maurice Sendak

I’m totally crazy, I know that. I don’t say that to be a smartass, but I know that that’s the very essence of what makes my work good. And I know my work is good. Not everybody likes it, that’s fine. I don’t do it for everybody. Or anybody. I do it because I can’t not do it.  ~Maurice Sendak 

Maurice Sendak died this last week. He was the author of the Where the Wild Things Are series. And it got me thinking. Why would anyone want to become a Writer. For 40 years I have had dreams of being a Writer, but had one failed attempt to write a novel after another. Recently, with the help of the course I am currently taking, I have begun to think that I might actually become published. But even more importantly I have come to realize over the last six months, that I have not been trying to become a Writer, I AM A WRITER. With this realization I wanted to share with you some of the insights I have gained. But rather than just drone on-and-on (which I never do) I thought I might use quotes from other Writer’s to help me out.

Why Writers Write?  A great question that every Writer asks themselves more than once (actually over-and-over again).  Many new Writers lack confidence. And when you ask them why, they will tell you “I never went to college; or, I went to college, but I have a degree in engineering or philosophy or something other than journalism or literature.” They believe they can’t be a Writer because they don’t have the background. But I have only personally met two Writers who actually went to college and trained to be a Writer. Everyone else became a Writer because they had to Write.  Writers write because like oxygen, it is hard to breath without it.

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.  One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.  ~George Orwell

One hasn’t become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating. ~Niyi Osundare

Truman Capote

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.  ~Truman Capote

You become a writer because you need to become a writer – nothing else. ~Grace Paley

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else. ~Gloria Steinem  

Some Truths about Writers: It probably does not come as a surprise to anyone that knows a Writer, that Writers are a strange lot. They don’t fit into society very well and look at the world just a little differently than everyone else. Writers are the first ones to point this out, not out of a sense of self importance, but more out of a sense of self-realization so that they can prevent, or at least delay, bouts of insanity.

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.  ~Thomas Mann

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.  ~E.L. Doctorow

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards. ~Robert A. Heinlein

Writers aren’t exactly people…. they’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.  ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

You start by writing to live. You end by writing so as not to die.  ~Carlos Fuentes

Writers on Writing. Writing is an art. Writing is a skill. Writing is different for every Writer. Which is a great joy for all of us that live to Read.

Mark Twain

Great books are weighed and measured by their style and matter and NOT by the trimmings and shadings of their grammer. ~Mark Twain

The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter  - it’s the difference between the lightning and the lightning. ~ Mark Twain

It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does. ~William Faulkner

There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are. ~Somerset Maugham

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster. ~Isaac Asimov

All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.  ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.~ E. L. Doctorow

What a Writer doesn’t tell other People.  I already mentioned that many Writers are self-conscious and figure everyone is looking at them and whispering  ”He’s a Writer?” So Writers tend to keep a lot to themselves to avoid embarrassment. They are very private people. Well, unless what is embarrassing might interest an agent or publisher in their story, then they will publish it for everyone in the world to read.

No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.  ~Russell Lynes

When I write a page that reads badly I know that it is myself who has written it. When it reads well it has come through from somewhere else.
~Gerald Brenan

Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.  ~Truman Capote 

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. ~Jules Renard

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.  ~Burton  Rascoe

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in shock-proof shit-detector.  ~Ernest Hemingway 

Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
~Red Smith

If you have a great Quote about Writers or Writing that you want to share, please leave it in a comment. Let’s see what we can do. 

3 Responses to ““I’m totally crazy, I know that.””

  1. Kirsten says:

    I’m a huge collector of quotes about writing, so I loved this post! Let’s see what I can find in my arsenal:

    “I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.” ~Toni Morrison (I was thrilled to discover this one, because that’s exactly what happened to me. :) )

    “Do it for joy and you can do it forever” ~ Stephen King

    “Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me.” ~Sigmund Freud

    “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
    ~ Rudyard Kipling

    “It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.”
    ? Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky (Because sometimes writing feels so much like pure magic that it scares me!)

    “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
    ? Albert Einstein (Finally, a connection between my scientist trained brain, and the shape-shifting Muse. )

  2. Marti Verlander says:

    Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there. — Thomas Berger

  3. Peter says:

    So True. Even if a Writer took the same story that someone else wrote, their personality and writing style would come through and it would be a new story — one that did not exist before.

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