A Piece of My Mind: Wisdom from Others
Bennet Pomerantz

Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
   ~ Buddha

My friend Jack and I were on the phone a few days ago talking, as we usually do, about each other's columns. He writes an OP-ED for a newspaper. He said in a half-joking manner, "Why don't you point out other people's wisdom, rather than your own?"

I said "HUH?"

Jack laughed in a booming crackle "Pomerantz, you are one of the smartest guys I know. However, once in a awhile, you need to do a column about others."

I said "HUH?"

He still laughed, "Why don't you just share other people's wisdom on writing in your writing column this month? You know, let someone else share their insights instead of you."

Then over Yahoo Instant Messager he sent me this quote:

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die.
   ~Isaac Asimov

Then he said, a minute after I received his IM, "You don't have to thank me, Pomerantz."

I said " OKAY, I won't." We started to laugh in unison. However, I will give credit where credit is due. Thanks Jack for the great idea !


Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.
  ~ Rod Serling (Creator of the Twilight Zone)

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed.
  ~ Ray Bradbury

Most beginning writers - and I was the same - are like chefs trying to cook great dishes that they've never tasted themselves. How can you make a great - or even an adequate - bouillabaisse if you've never had any? If you don't really understand why people read mysteries - or romances or literary novels or thrillers or whatever - then there's no way in the world you're going to write one that anyone wants to publish. This is the meaning of the well-known expression "Write what you know."
  ~ Daniel Quinn

Writing is a lot like sex. At first you do it because you like it. Then you find yourself doing it for a few close friends and people you like. But if you're any good at all...you end up doing it for money.
  ~ Unknown (some credit Joe Eszterhas, screen writer of Showgirls & Basic Instinct)

The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything.
  ~ John Irving (The World According to Garp)

Fiction writers, present company included, don't understand very much about what they do - not why it works when it's good, not why it doesn't when it's bad.
   ~ Stephen King

My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.
  ~ Ernest Hemingway

People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it.
  ~ Eight Time Hugo winner Harlan Ellison

If you are pointing out one of the things a story is about, then you are very probably right; if you are pointing out the only thing a story is about you are very probably wrong - even if you're the author.
  ~ Neil Gaiman (author of American Gods, Stardust and the Sandman Graphic Novels)

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's works is all I can permit myself to contemplate.
  ~ John Steinbeck

I don't think it is possible to give tips for finding one's voice; it's one of those things for which there aren't really any tricks or shortcuts, or even any advice that necessarily translates from writer to writer. All I can tell you is to write as much as possible.
  ~ Poppy Z. Brite

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
  ~ Jane Yolen

I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.
  ~ E. B. White (Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web)

Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
  ~ Tom Stoppard

To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over.
  ~ John Hersey

Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating by them. Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer's make-up, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto.
  ~ Ray Bradbury

If you're going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.
  ~ Noted Western writer Louis L'Amour

And when you win an award, say this....He (her husband) didn't write the book, I did... So I don't need to thank him!
  ~ Nora Roberts on winning the Quill Award for The Book of the Year 2007

Reach for the STARS!
  ~ Bennet Pomerantz (Okay, I was trying it out!)

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About the Writer:

Bennet Pomerantz is a media review columnist in 175 newspapers with his weekly column AUDIOWORLD. His fiction and reviews have appeared in the pages of Affaire De Coeur, Gateways, Mystery Scene, Power Star, The Hot Corner, Washington Entertainment Magazine, and many others. He is also known for his review appearances on the MCN Forum. View his web site at Audioworld.