“I wanted to see my name on the cover of a book. If your name is in the Library of Congress, you’re immortal.” ~ Tom Clancy
Gone, but not Forgotten
You and I…we write books. This calling is for the few creatives with the intestinal fortitude to actually finish a manuscript. It’s never easy, and in fact is a compelling, riveting, exhausting and exhilarating journey.
So what do the greats have to say about the process? These quotes by a fellow writers may help put it all in perspective. After all, they didn’t just write books—they sold books. Lots of books. So it’s wise to take their quotes at face value.
Read ahead and find inspiration from Ray Bradbury, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell and Tom Clancy—long departed authors, but never forgotten.
“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”
“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”
“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”
“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
“Language is wine upon the lips.”
“A good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in not out.”
“Really I don’t like human nature unless all candied over with art.”
“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.”
“Never use the passive where you can use the active.”
“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”
“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues….”
“I do not over-intellectualise the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.”
“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”
“Before, it was always, ‘Oh, no, here comes Clancy, that insurance agent.’ Now it’s, ‘Oh, here comes Tom Clancy, bestselling author.’ But I’m still the same basic middle-class slob.”
“Learn to write the same way you learn to play golf. You do it and keep doing it until you get it right.”
“Fundamentally, I think of myself as a storyteller, not a writer.”
“I wanted to see my name on the cover of a book. If your name is in the Library of Congress, you’re immortal.”