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5 Great Quotes on Writing

As we’re gearing up for WD’s 90th anniversary party next week—talking about printing magazine covers on cakes, sustaining unfortunate injuries such as a thumbtack puncture from a flier posting gone wrong—I keep flipping back to our January issue to check various covers, round up materials, etc.

In the process, I've been bumping into WD Editor Jessica Strawser’s 90 Secrets of Bestselling Authors feature. Here are five of my favorite tidbits from the piece … followed, of course, by today’s prompt.

(Also, thanks to everyone for your excellent author ideas. I'm going to add them to our list of possibilities. If you have an author you'd love to see in Writer's Digest magazine, post his or her name here!)

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“Every idea is my last. I feel sure of it. So, I try to do the best with each as it comes and that’s where my responsibility ends. But I just don’t wait for ideas. I look for them. Constantly. And if I don’t use the ideas that I find, they’re going to quit showing up.” —PEG BRACKEN, 1970 WD

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“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed quickly, to trap them before they escape.” —RAY BRADBURY, 1991 WD

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“I have never felt like I was creating anything. For me, writing is like walking through a desert and all at once, poking up through the hardpan, I see the top of a chimney. I know there’s a house under there, and I’m pretty sure that I can dig it up if I want. That’s how I feel. It’s like the stories are already there. What they pay me for is the leap of faith that says: ‘If I sit down and do this, everything will come out OK.’” —STEPHEN KING, 1992 WD

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“Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” —ANDRE DUBUS, 1988
 WD

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“Writing is like being in love. You never get better at it or learn more about it. The day you think you do is the day you lose it. Robert Frost called his work a lover’s quarrel with the world. It’s ongoing. It has neither a beginning nor an end. You don’t have to worry about learning things. The fire of one’s art burns all the impurities from the vessel that contains it.”
—JAMES LEE BURKE, 1997 WD

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WRITING PROMPT: Fight Club

Feel free to take the following prompt home or post your response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below. By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our occasional around-the-office swag drawings.

Take the last fight or disagreement you were involved in—be it a fistfight, a verbal battle with a spouse, a passive-aggressive note campaign with a neighbor—and incorporate it into a scene with a different resolution.

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