Sage advice on writing
Compiled by Citizendium editors between 2007-2009 (original)

  • Jaron Lanier: "Accuracy in a text is not enough. A desirable text is more than a collection of accurate references. It is also an expression of personality. A voice should be sensed as a whole. You have to have a chance to sense personality in order for language to have its full meaning."
  • Colin Wilson: "Nothing is indescribable in words if you take the time and trouble. If your present language framework is inadequate, then you must carefully create a larger one."
  • Richard Feynman: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool."
  • Winston Churchill: "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. "
  • Ernest Hemingway: "The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, fool-proof, shit detector."
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein: "A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion. "
  • Samuel Johnson: "I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read."
  • Hart Crane: "One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment."
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: "You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say."
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein: "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."
  • Mark Twain: "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning-bug."
  • Charles Bukowski: "... don't be like so many writers, / don't be like so many thousands of / people who call themselves writers, / don't be dull and boring and / pretentious, don't be consumed with self-love. / the libraries of the world have / yawned themselves to sleep / over your kind."
  • Hon. Bruce M. Selya: "I am a recidivist, frequently guilty of overwriting and overciting. But I am at least a resipiscent recidivist. I have come around to the view that, though it may take discipline to cut more quickly to the chase and to doff the security blanket that writers weave from string citations, we, as judges, must dedicate ourselves to the task."

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