I’ve got a quotation over my desk by the novelist Louis Auchincloss. In large font, it reminds me daily, hourly that,
“A man can spend his whole existence never learning the simple lesson that he has only one life and that if he fails to do what he wants with it, nobody else really cares.”
I’ve been lucky. I have a husband, his family, and a few close friends who relentlessly, yet lovingly, cheer me on in my writing. Still, I’ve been swayed by well-meant, but often intrusive, invitations.
Those folks who invite you to spend an afternoon at the 4th wedding shower you’ve attended that year when you could be home writing? I doubt if, at the end, even one of them will say, “We should have left him [fill in your name here] alone to get his writing done.” They won’t care that you never finished that essay or novel or children’s story, or the small book of poetry that would have felt so right in your hand.
It doesn’t even need to be anything grand. You might just need to write yourself through a bad experience or record some lessons recently learned. A personal diary or journal will do for that.
In our busy-making, byzantine world, where a good deal of energy is spent in occupations unrelated to our deepest desires, a quotation like the one by Auchincloss can help you buckle down and get your writing done.
Pinning it over my desk works for me. Despite distractions and demands, I get my writing done. My articles and essays have been published in reputable outlets because I remind myself that if I give in to the external pressures instead of doing what I feel I was meant to do, nobody will give a hoot.
Use These Inspirational Quotes
Here are some quotations to encourage you to value your writing, make time for it, feed it what it needs.
“If you wish to be a writer; write!” – Epictetus
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us.” – Don Delillo
“To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself.” – Anne Rice
“I have lived on the razor’s edge. So what if you fall off? I’d rather be doing something I really wanted to do.” – Georgia O’Keefe
If you’ve got any quotations or any mantras you made up that propel you to your desk and keep you there, please share them.
And, post your favorites over your desk. They’ll help you out in times of doubt.
If you really need a push to get it in gear, to realize we shouldn’t put off our writing because we don’t live forever, try this one. Writing & Illness: More Than Metaphor.