In an unmoored life like mine, sleep and hunger and work arrange themselves to suit themselves, without consulting me.
Write hard and clear about what hurts.
via Kennedy’s speechwriter Ted Sorensen:
We were not conscious of following the elaborate techniques later ascribed to these speeches by literary analysts. Neither of us had any special training in composition, linguistics or semantics.
Our chief criterion was always audience comprehension and comfort, and this meant: (1) short speeches, short clauses and short words, wherever possible; (2) a series of points or propositions in numbered or logical sequence wherever appropriate; and (3) the construction of sentences, phrases and paragraphs in such a manner as to simplify, clarify and emphasize.
Amazing, how close that is to Steve Jobs’ presentation style.
Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.
Season 4, Episode 8 - Don’s soliloquy
When a man walks into a room
he brings his whole life with him
He has a million reasons to be anywhere
just ask him
If you listen, he’ll tell you how he got there
Or he forgot where he was going, and then he woke up
If you listen, he’ll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel or dreamt of being perfect
And, then he’ll smile with wisdom
content that he realized the world isn’t perfect
We’re flawed, because we want… so much more
We’re ruined, because we get these things… and wish for what we had.
William Faulkner, in this wide-ranging 1947 interview w/ students at the University of Mississipi covers everything from two world wars to his five favorite contemporaries (Hemingway & Steinbeck zings included).
But, most of all, it serves as a great primer for any wannabe writer or blogger.
Q: How do you find time to write?
WF: You can always find time to write. Anybody who says he can’t is living under false pretenses. To that extent depend on inspiration. Don’t wait. When you have an inspiration put it down. Don’t wait until later and when you have more time and then try to recapture the mood and add flourishes. You can never recapture the mood with the vividness of its first impression.
Q: What is the best training for writing? Courses in writing? Or what?
WF: Read, read, read! Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read! You’ll absorb it. Write. If it is good you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.
A really good style comes only when a man has become as good as he can be.
Style is character. A good style cannot come from a bad, undisciplined character…
I think good style is a matter of rendering out of oneself all the cupidities, all the cripplings, all velleities. And then I think one has to develop one’s physical grace.