Tag: quotable

Saying “no” is the best creative thing you ever did for yourself #writing – Quotable Kevin Ashton

Frog with arms crossed and "No" written above his headRead a great article recently from Kevin Ashton, which really is an excerpt from his new book, “How to Fly a Horse  —  The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery.” In it, he talks about how the most successful people say, “no” and they say it all the time. One of the key points was reframing creativity: Creativity isn’t how much time something takes, but how much it costs.  It is consuming. It is sacrifice. It is giving up time with family, with friends, with this interesting project, or that television show.

“Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating.

“Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know.”

So…how often do YOU say “No?”


Check out Kevin’s full article here: http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-creative-people-say-no-2015-1 


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Non-Video Saturday: An Interview with Tim Powers

Special thanks to @Ariadnes_Thread for mentioning a great interview which is this week’s “Advice to Writers” although it really is more of a way to get to know how Tim Powers writes, what appeals to him about “secret history” and his obvious love for the genre – http://likeiwassayingblog.com/2014/12/02/tim-powers-interview-with-a-secret-historian/

Some quotes are below:

“You come home at night. You don’t want to go to bed. You take out a piece of paper and you write CHAPTER ONE. And you write two pages, and you figure that’s pretty good. So you go to bed.

“And then the next night you’re in the mood again, so you pull out a fresh piece of paper and you write CHAPTER ONE. And you write a whole different thing.

“And eventually you realize, I’ve written a whole lot of page-and-a-halfs of various CHAPTER ONES. Add it all together, it’s a lot of words. But it’s not anything. What you’ve got to learn is: Every night when you’re in the mood, instead of starting something fresh, continue that previous thing until it’s done. Which was a tricky thing to learn, actually.

Powers writes 9 pm to 1 am.

“In my own first drafts, when I re-read them, it always seems like a bunch of people in street clothes holding scripts, standing on a bare stage, looking at tape marks on the floor and reading from the script very haltingly. And you think ok, well, that’s the first rehearsal. We’re going to get sets, we’re going to get costumes, there will be real drinks in the glasses, this isn’t the finished production.

“Well you go to YouTube a hundred people have been up there and videoed it. And that’s true for any situation you can imagine. I wonder what it’s like to be on a sailing ship, squarerigger, standing at the bow in he middle of a storm. It would be useful to get some sensory impressions of that. I’ve never tried it but I’m sure a hundred people on YouTube have done it.

“What would it be like to be on skis going over a cliff in the Alps? Some poor devil has videoed it. You get to experience it to the extent of those two senses, sight and hearing.

Powers puts in a quota of a thousand words a day.

“I try to outline so absolutely that I’ll never be stuck with a question as I’m writing. My outline, before I ever start, includes bits of dialogue, even some descriptions. Of course when you’re actually writing the book, it turns out there’s things you didn’t think to outline. But I try to minimize those snags by outlining in advance to a obsessive or insane degree.”

“To an extent, I think I have an advantage in that I have been [writing professionally] forever. I think I’m fortunate in that I’ve been published since the 70s. I think if I was starting out right now, the online presence would be much more urgent. It does seem like there’s this vast churning crowd and you’ve got to do something to draw people’s eye to you.

The importance of making art, people liking it and….eh, fuckit. #writing


“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” And if they still don't like it, fuck 'em.


Image: A pencil in a hand with the quote: “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”  – Andy Warhol.  Below is a second quote: “And if they still don’t like it, fuck ’em.” – An inebriated writer who, right now, thinks anonymity might be smart.

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Video Saturday (not quite) – Writing Advice, or more truthfully #Writing Infographic

Now THIS is a Writer’s Retreat I’d love to explore!

Writers Restreat Graphic

And once again this amazing image is brought to you by Grant Snider. (Why is it I love his stuff so much? Oh yeah, he’s brilliantly talented!)


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Quotable – @LAGilman

I’d been reading genre fiction since I was a kid. Loved it. Loved dragons and magic and fantasy and adventure and all of that “good stuff.” I spent most of my attention and thoughts on the stories and characters. As I grew older, I have to admit, my curiosity about the authors grew. And with the ubiquity of the internet, I discovered I could actually MEET these heroes (at least digitally). I could read about them and their lives; I could follow them; I could learn more about character motivations and the “behind the scenes” of the novels; and I could learn about the creators of those worlds. It was awesome. It still is awesome.

More and more authors are active online now. In some ways you could say it has become a requirement of the profession. So…in part-pride and part-shame (regarding my partial-author-cyber-stalking) I thought to have today’s “Quotable” come from probably the first author that I actively followed online – Laura Anne Gilman.

Laura Anne is the author of the popular Cosa Nostradamus books for Luna (the “Retrievers” and “Paranormal Scene Investigations” urban fantasy series), and the award-nominated The Vineart War trilogy from Pocket, as well as the forthcoming story collection DRAGON VIRUS. A member of the on-line writers’ consortium BookView Cafe, she continues to write and sell short fiction in a variety of genres.

Laura Anne Gilman Photo © 2009 Elsa M. Ruiz

Laura Anne Gilman Photo © 2009 Elsa M. Ruiz

I had discovered her more personal writing on LiveJournal and commenced following; and perhaps not so oddly our first interactions were about politics rather than writing.  Regardless, she was always gracious and polite and I had the great pleasure (after many years of following online) to meet her in person at Balticon (not 2011)…and get a book signed and share a drink while at it.   So with that introduction, let me put before you a collection of quotes from her online writing, blogging and tweeting that may be of interest to those seeking advice on writing.


  •  You sit down. You tell a story. You do it any damn way it comes out that works consistently for you. You hope people like it. You hope people pay you for it. You do it again. And again. That’s all I got. Zen and the Art of Writer Maintenance. You can cheer me on and I can cheer you on, but in the end? In the end it’s down to how you get your getting done, done. So get it done.


  • Idea + Plotting + Research + Word choice + Editing/revising = Writing.


  • The ability to create – to synthesize a new, meaningful reality – doesn’t appear out of thin air. It’s the pooling of everything we think and feel and experience, the observations that we’re not even aware we’re making… You’re looking for new experiences, both small (the taste of a new food, or a style of music you’re not familiar with) and large (learning that yes, you CAN [or can’t], jump off a bridge with nothing but a bungee cord to protect you, and all the emotions that come with that).


  • …we often don’t see the implications or undertones of our own work, caught up in the intensity of the writing. Not because we lost control, but because we gave control up to the part of us that delves into our brain and gathers the material we need to tell stories in the first place….Revisions are like that. Yes, you’re looking at the broken bits, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter. But it’s also the chance to see the larger picture, sense the impact of the whole – not only on the characters but on the readers.


  • Writers work alone. Unless you have a co-writer, the actual writing of a story involves your brain, your notebook, and your keyboard, and that’s it.


  • Sometimes you need to learn


  • Conferences [are like] to going to the doctor, for your writing life: you’ll either get an “all clear, keep doing what you’re doing” or you’ll be handed a wake-up call about what you need to change, drastically, in order to get/stay healthy.


  • When is enough research, enough? …The advice I follow, and I gave to my writers for years was to treat it the way you would a meal. When you’re reaching the point of being comfortably full, when your body says “we’re done,” then put down your fork and stop eating.


  • Often we worry so much about getting the facts right, we forget that we’re also making it all up as we go along.


  •  Reading for pleasure is to the writer what muscles stretches are to the athlete: if you don’t, you’re going to hurt yourself.

Quotable – Sayings, Cliches and Ephemera – Old Cliches

I am a clicheAs life changes so does the relevance (and acceptability) of expressions.  So where do old cliches go to die?  I can tell you…Alan Chapman’s website.  It is actually a fun little resource and I’ve included quotables from his site previusly.  Below are some that just sounded fun.


never wear a brown hat in Friesland – meaning the same as ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’ (ie, don’t upset the locals by behaving contrary to their customs) – Friesland was a province of the Netherlands, where the custom was to wear several different types of headgear (knitted cap, silk scull-cap, a metal turban and a large bonnet – all at once!).

cat’s paw – person doing someone else’s dirty work – from Aesop’s fable of the monkey who uses the cat’s paw to remove roasted chestnuts from the hot ashes.

chatter-broth/scandal-broth – tea (the drink).

cow-lick – a (stubborn) quiff or tuft of hair on the forehead.

the devil’s tattoo – to drum one’s fingers on a table (‘tattoo’ meant originally a military drum beat, which was used to call soldiers back to barracks).

driving pigs – snoring – from the metaphor of taking grunting pigs to market.

German comb – using the fingers and thumb of one hand to roughly comb one’s hair – from the practice of German people who were much later than the French to adopt combs.

a head full of bees – being mad or very stupid.

keep your breath to cool your porridge – mind you own business.

kiss the hare’s foot – be late for or miss dinner (the old metaphor was based on the idea that the hare had run away and you’d only be able to kiss its footprint).

leaves without figs – empty words or promises.

pecksniff – a hypocrite.

shove the queer – attempt to pass counterfeit money (queer used to mean fake money).

scornful dogs will eat dirty puddings – desperate people do desperate things (people understood there was a needs hierarchy long before Maslow told us).

shoe a goose – engage in a fruitless task.

not got a shot in the locker – penniless – from the naval analogy of having no gunshot in the munition store.

parish oven – 1800s French slang for a bus – according to Brewer this is how the French slang expression ‘four banal’ translates, although the modern translation would be ‘common oven’ – either way it’s a wonderful expression).

stiff – (bought with) credit – also meant an I.O.U., from the ‘stiff’ rate of interest imposed by money-lenders. Buying something ‘stiff’ was buying on credit.

tap the admiral – to suck liquid from a container with a straw.

tapster – bar-maid.

touch bottom – learn the details of a bad predicament – a naval metaphor, as in a ship’s keel touching the sea-bed.

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