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Aphorisms About Writing

Aphorisms About Writing

I was asked to provide a quote about the writing life, and the prompt turned me to jelly. But then just now I was Gchatting with Michael Kimball, and we talk about this stuff a lot, so I made him help me face the challenge. Then Amy McDaniel came home and I told her about it and she jumped in. We had a lot of fun and some of our aphorisms are pretty good, and some are really bad.

Thoughts on the writing life

  1. “Write first thing in the morning, before you wake up.” —Adam Robinson
  2. “The writing life is difficult and beautiful and depressing and exciting and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” —Michael Kimball
  3. “Writers think in spirals, not circles.” —Amy McDaniel
  4. “Writing is nothing like anything else, even writing.” —Adam Robinson
  5. “I would write more books, but I prefer ideas.” —Michael Kimball
  6. “Every sentence is a shovelful of dirt to bury the sentence before it.” —Amy McDaniel
  7. “If you can vividly remember the way it made you feel when you finished writing something years ago, you’re a writer.” —Adam Robinson
  8. “Someone asked me once, ‘What do you write about,’ and I politely declined a third date.” —Amy McDaniel
  9. “Write something that nobody else has ever written, in a way that nobody else has ever written, etc.” —Michael Kimball
  10. “Write something fucked up, because I’ve read all the regular stuff.” —Michael Kimball
  11. “I’m not concerned about the size of my vocabulary, but about the elasticity of my lexicon.” —Amy McDaniel
  12. “Heidegger asked, ‘Why is there being at all? Why not, far rather, nothing.’ And then he kept writing. And so must we all.” —Adam Robinson
  13. “You have to break eggs to make eggs, but there was already an egg in there before you came along.” —Amy McDaniel
  14. “Write like your life depended on it. It doesn’t, but what else are you going to do?” —Michael Kimball
  15. “I am most proud of something I wrote when I imagine reading it to a roomful of people who don’t care, and I get nervous.” —Adam Robinson
  16. “It isn’t true that writers aren’t good for any work but writing.” —Amy McDaniel
  17. “I write to figure out why I can’t paint.” —Adam Robinson
  18. “Writing is like a cigarette addiction. Hold on, I have to step outside for a few minutes.” —Michael Kimball
  19. “Not writing is not like not sleeping or not eating, but it is like not getting out of bed when you really aren’t sick anymore.” —Amy McDaniel
  20. “I wish the English language had a different way of doing prepositions.” —Amy McDaniel
  21. “I never finish writing anything. I just write to the point where I’m not too embarrassed to say it’s done.” —Adam Robinson
  22. “If I could be a baseball player, I would be, but I’m a writer.” —Michael Kimball
  23. “Writing is like a video game, except it’s free to start over.” —Michael Kimball and Adam Robinson
  24. “Write what you think you know.” —Adam Robinson
  25. “Aphorisms about writing are like the water water that’s everywhere but you can’t drink it.” —Amy McDaniel
  26. “Don’t write to express yourself. Write to disguise yourself. Your choice of costume is more honest than whatever you think is in your soul.” —Amy McDaniel
  27. “The hardest thing about writing is keeping up with the ideas.” —Adam Robinson
  28. “Writing is a life saver, the kind that melts in your mouth.” —Michael Kimball
  29. “Throwing a discus is like writing a novel —Jamie Iredell (said something like that)” —Michael Kimball
  30. “Prompts and constraints generally inspire better work.” —Adam Robinson
  31. “It is hard to accept that people aren’t trying to be mean when they ask what I’m working on.” —Amy McDaniel
  32. “The best app for writing is a nAppkin.” —Adam Robinson
  33. “Writing is too difficult, if you don’t love it.” —Michael Kimball
  34. “Writing is like being a rat in a maze trying to develop a cognitive map, so the fucking lab researcher will leave you alone and just let you eat all the cheese you keep finding.” —Michael Kimball
  35. “Rilke said ‘a writer is a person who must write,’ but I think that’s stupid. I think Flannery O’Connor said, like, ‘a writer is a person who can write,’ so that’s what I go by. I can write really well.” —Adam Robinson
  36. “There are all kinds of ways to be a writer. You don’t have to write every day to be a writer. That is a very male idea and I reject it.” —Amy McDaniel
  37. “You can make up whatever you want. A story can be absolutely anything.” —Michael Kimball
  38. “Writing is to money as farts are to the Constitution. Is ‘the constitution’ supposed to be capitalized?” —Adam Robinson
  39. “Writing fiction is like making monopoly money. You can’t spend it but it makes you happy.” —Michael Kimball and Adam Robinson
  40. “Writing is like a cassette tape—there’s nothing to play it on.” —Michael Kimball
  41. “I’d write with my dick if it wasn’t too big to hold with my fingers. —Henry Miller” —Michael Kimball

And then Michael was like, “Okay, that’s it.” And then:

  1. “Everything is perfect as long as I don’t read what I just wrote.” —Michael Kimball

Can you help add your own? I’m still looking for that perfect one, even though Amy and Michael were real helpful. I just wish I’d known that about Amy on our second date.

Photo by Matt Biddulph

Adam Robinson
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About The Author

Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson lives in Atlanta and runs Publishing Genius Press. He is the author of two poetry collections, Adam Robison and Other Poems and Say Poem.

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