Golden Wisdom

“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.” –
Doris Lessing, Under My Skin

Doris Lessing, the author of The Golden Notebook, lived a long and productive writing life. As a tribute to Doris, Meg Waite, a novelist herself, gathered some seeds of wisdom from Doris from her books and interviews and published them on her blog, 1st Books I thought I’d share them with you:

“You should write, first of all, to please yourself. You shouldn’t care a damn about anybody else at all. But writing cant be a way of life, the important part of writing is living. You have to live in such a way that your writing emerges from it.” — from A Small, Personal Voice

“What’s terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don’t need love when you do; or you like your work when you know
quite well you’re capable of better.” — from The Golden Notebook

“[T]he book, the story dictates how I’m going to have to do it. The story dictates the means of telling it…” from a telephone interview, 2007 Nobel Prize, Oct 11, 2007

“When I was bringing up a child I taught myself to write in very short concentrated bursts. If I had a weekend, or a week, I’d do unbelievable amounts of work. Now those habits tend to be ingrained … I think I write much better if I’m flowing. You start something off, and at first it’s a bit jagged, awkward, but then there’s a point where there’s a click and you suddenly become quite fluent. That’s when I think I’m writing well. I don’t write well when I’m sitting there sweating about every single phrase.” – from a Paris Review interview

“It’s amazing what you find out about yourself when you write in the first person about someone very different from you.” – from a Paris Review interview

“I think a writer’s job is to provoke questions. I like to think that if someone’s read a book of mine, they’ve had-I don’t know what-the literary equivalent of a shower. Something that would start them thinking in a slightly different way perhaps. That’s what I think writers are for.” – from a Paris Review interview

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty… Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.” – from the 1971 introduction to The Golden Notebook

“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.”
Write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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