“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”
“What you are aiming to do is beautiful and even noble.”
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that what we are aiming for as writers is beautiful and worthwhile. So it’s always helpful to be reminded of this. Richard Bausch, a novelist, short story writer, and teacher, delivered some words of wisdom at the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont that I came across recently and wanted to send your way:
1) Read: “Swallow books, ingest them, move on.” Make it a point to read great literature from around the world.
2) Develop your craft: “Work harder, hour upon hour upon hour.” Cultivate consistency in your writing habits.
3) Train Yourself: learn to work anywhere, both “in silent settings and busy places.”
4) Be Willing: Be “open for business all the time” — and be willing to fail. It’s part of the price of being a writer.
5) Avoid Expectations: “The artist who expects great rewards and complete understanding is a fool.”
6) Dream: “Tap into a part of yourself closest to the dreaming side.Dream the story: make it up and follow through — then look at it with total detachment.”
7) Be Patient: “You are trying to something that is harder to do than anything….Accept failure as the condition of this life, this work. Only ask yourself: ‘Did I work today?'”
“It’s supposed to be confusing; it’s supposed to be anxiety-producing. The only question to ask yourself is ‘Did I work today?’ If the answer is yes, that’s all you need to know.”
“Did I work today?” I think I’m going to make an index card with this question emblazoned on it. How about you? Can we work harder, hour upon hour upon hour? Surely a worthy goal to aim for as we write on.