Literary Birthday – 24 June – Lawrence Block

Happy Birthday, Lawrence Block, born 24 June 1938.

10 Quotes On Writing

  1. When I was around 15, I discovered reading fiction—Steinbeck, Farrell, Wolfe, etc. And I decided this was what I wanted to be when I grew up.
  2. If you want to write fiction, the best thing you can do is take two aspirins, lie down in a dark room, and wait for the feeling to pass.
  3. One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.
  4. As a friend of mine, herself a writer, says, ‘People who spend the most meaningful hours of their lives in the exclusive company of imaginary people are apt to be a little strange.’
  5. I think persistence in the face of adversity is an essential part of a writer’s job description. If you don’t care enough about it to avoid being easily disheartened that way, you really should be doing something else.
  6. If you’ve got something to say, hire a hall. If you want to send a message, call Western Union. But if you’ve gotten nothing more than the urge to write and a talent to amuse, just sit down and write your book. Even if you don’t change any lives, you might get somebody through a bad night or two.
  7. I think it takes courage for any writer, novice, or veteran, to begin a piece of work. Every time I start a book or story, every time I spoil a clean white paper with my own poor words, I am performing an act of faith.
  8. …the change in the number of publishing houses is extraordinary. There used to be dozens; now there are only a handful. There are any number of successful novels which were rejected by twenty-five houses before they found a publisher. But the only way that could happen now is if each house rejected the manuscript five times. How are you going to even find twenty-five houses to send your manuscript to?
  9. Why on earth should I care whether people read me with their eyes or their ears?
  10. The less attention I pay to what people want and the more attention I pay to just writing the book I want to write, the better I do.

Lawrence Block is an American crime writer. He is best known for the series featuring recovering alcoholic, P.I. Matthew Scudder (beginning with The Sins of the Fathers) and the series featuring gentleman burglar, Bernie Rhodenbarr. He has written more than 100 books, including four best-selling series and dozens of short stories, articles, and books on writing. He has won numerous international crime writing awards. Follow him on Twitter: @LawrenceBlock

Source for image: Via the author’s publicist / Photo credit: Mary Reagan

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 24th June 2013