“Writers on Writing”, Edited by Jon Winokur (Short Review)

“I know very dimly when I start what’s going to happen. I just have a very general idea, and then the thing develops as I write.” –Aldous Huxley

Mr. Huxley and I share the same essentially philosophy: he writes novels while I write these tiny blog posts hardly anyone reads. Nevertheless, our stance on writing is the same, we both know what we are going to do before we do it, albeit, in a very vague, unsure manner. Every writer in this regard is different: some outline extensively, others work backward from the end of their project; after all, if you know the beginning and end then filling in the middle should be as easy as dining on leftovers. In any case, the above quote only is a small slice of the pie in Jon Winokur’s collection of handy quotes.

The entire book is simply that- just a large collection of quotes from a wide variety of writers (of both poetry and novels) on every subject any writer has an opinion on. Fame, endings, education, and so on in that order are collected to give the reader a fun sense of their own profession but others’ perspectives as well. I had a great deal of enjoyment in reading through: the sections spoke to my own cynic as well as artist and I found the amount of quotes a helpful guide if I needed a quick quote on something for a paper. So, while you are not getting much in the way of narrative here, you are getting something just as good: a smile and a much needed remainder that you are not the only writer out there struggling through thinking, ‘oh god, what did I get myself into?’

“The first draft of anything is shit.” –Ernest Hemingway

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