I’m re-reading Heartburn by Nora Ephron because if any sentence can shove you out of writer’s block and into a room where you have no option to create something just as good as the thing you’ve just read, it’s her casual description of the “other woman” on page 2.
What three words describe your writing process?
Er… panic, panic, hope.
And what is a crucial aspect of your creative process?
Mmm… panic. And hope.
And what would you say to anyone in a creative rut?
Um, read. And walk around. And call someone that you can complain about your rut to.
From This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Contrary to multiple acquaintances’ declarations that I would encounter “some real weirdos” on the train, the first person I met on board my first sleeper car after boarding the train in Penn Station was a man in a sparkly cardigan and leather pants who breezily identified himself as “a prophet,” which is perhaps the world’s second-oldest profession. And forgive me if I find nothing “weird” about being gainfully employed under a supervisor with the kind of multinational name recognition God has.
As he doubtless expected, the prophet and I were in opposite Viewliner roomettes — private compartments Amtrak describes as “designed for one or two passengers,” although a roomette is both narrower and shorter than a standard porta potty.There Is No Reason To Cross America By Train — But I Did It Anyway – New York Times
When they bring lunch back to their desks, they know not to buy green bananas.Inside The Two Years That Shook Facebook – Wired
I never went to an art school. I failed the art courses that I did take in school. I just looked at a lot of things. And that’s how I learnt about art, by looking at it.Jean-Michel Basquiat
This is the beauty and the horror of being a writer — or trying to be anything, really: You can feel important or unimportant. No one cares. No one is watching. You can have fun or you can suffer. No one is grading you. No one is invested. You can proclaim yourself ahead of schedule, or you can spend your whole life telling yourself that you’re running behind. No one is there to measure. You can suspect that you’re insecure and outdated, long-winded and short-sighted, high-strung and lowbrow. Or you can conclude that you’re charismatic, a teensy bit talented, never boring, and reasonably worthy. You have choices. You are the decider. Because the truth is, no one else gives a flying fuck.I Can’t Stop Comparing Myself To More Successful Writers! – Heather Havrilesky, The Cut.
When I was head of editorial at lastminute.com, I added a banned words list to the website and blog writing guidelines. Because when you describe every destination in the world as ‘unique’ and ‘off the beaten track’, you’re not really describing anything at all.
So I was pretty pleased to see someone tweeting an excerpt from the Guardian’s style guide, where they’ve got a similarly no-bullshit approach to the word ‘iconic’.
…and please can someone tell them to stop?