I’m reading THE FOREST FOR THE TREES from Betsy Lerner. Older book on writing, not a how-to, just general writer’s life. She’s a lit fiction editor, so not completely applicable to my genre writing, but I did find some gems in the book that I think are worth sharing.

“…it doesn’t really matter if you’ve got natural talent. Your job is to marshal the talent you do have and find people who believe in your vision.”

‎”Great writing is meant to crush us, entertain and move us, return to us to ourselves with some greater understanding of the world and its workings.”

“You must give yourself permission to tell. Most important, give up the vain hope that people will like your work. People like vanilla ice cream. Hope that they love your work or hate it. That they find it exquisite or revolting.”

“Judging one’s own writing is like looking in a mirror. What you tell yourself about what you see in the reflection has far more to do with how you feel about yourself than with how you actually look.”

And one more, from J.D. Salinger:

“Some day, there will be a story you want to tell for no better reason than because it matters to you more than any other. You’ll stop looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re keeping everybody happy, and you’ll simply write what’s real and true. Honest writing always makes people nervous, and they’ll think of all kinds of ways to make your life hell. One day, a long time from now you’ll cease to care anymore whom you please or what anybody has to say about you. That’s when you’ll finally produce the work you’re capable of.”

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