The Sticking Point is a literary business with a single goal: to help writers advance in their careers whether by encouragement, training or advice. When I founded The Sticking Point, my main desire was to reach out to others, as several writers had done for me over the years.
We are a helpful bunch, we writers. There is no ruthless competition as in other artistic professions in which I have dabbled. Actors will try mightily to psych each other out in the green room before an audition. I’ve even seen them sabotage each other on the stage during a performance. Directors scramble for the best casting, the most production money, the best theaters. Ad Agencies are a business of competition! Any small business owner will put countless resources toward procuring customers. Some even resort to unscrupulous methods in order to win.
But this is not the case with writers. Our work is intensely intimate, as we privately pursue the story, edit and revise. Once it is public we are no longer in competition. The success of one writer does not diminish the success of another writer. We leap to encourage and aid other writers because we ourselves love writing…and somewhere along the way, another writer may have reached out to us with encouragement and aid.
I will never forget the English teacher, Brenda Wilkolm-Dennison, who gave me the encouragement when I was a middle school student to put pen to paper in earnest. It was because of her I saw my first short play staged. She was followed by others who gave advice, opened doors and encouraged this fledgling writer. At university it was Mary Dalles who became mentor and friend. And, in the midst of the birthing and raising of my five children I was incredibly blessed with the acquaintance of authors Marshall Cook and Christine DeSmet at the University of Wisconsin. They have become so much more to me than mentor/teachers. They have become my friends.
It is because of, and in honor, of them that I reach out, offering what encouragement, education and advice that I can to writers who may be just beginning and writers who are far more advanced than I.
Enjoy the words gifted us by writers of note. Take their advice or leave it. Use the inspirational words to further your place in the world of authorship. And let me know how you are doing!
EXCERPT from "1011 Quotes for Writers"1. Ernest Hemingway: You should not judge, you should understand.
2. Ernest Hemingway: After you learn to write your whole object is to convey everything, every sensation, sight, feeling place and emotion to the reader.
3. Ernest Hemingway: It wasn’t an accident that the Gettysburg Address was short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.
4. Ernest Hemingway: Don’t let yourself slip and get any perfect characters…keep them people, people, people, and don’t let them get to be symbols.
5. Ernest Hemingway: Imagination? It is the one thing besides honesty that a good writer must have. The more he leans from experience, the more he can imagine.
6. Ernest Hemingway: There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.
7. Ernest Hemingway: I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.
8. Ernest Hemingway: Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do? H: It depends, I re-wrote the ending of “Farewell To Arms,” the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied. Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there: What was it that had stumped you? H: Getting the words right.
9. Ernest Hemingway: The first draft of everything is shit.
10. Ernest Hemingway: Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.
11. Ernest Hemingway: The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector.
12. Ernest Hemingway: When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.
13. Ernest Hemingway: I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there is still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
14. Ernest Hemingway: Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.
15. Ernest Hemingway: If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he omits things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.
16. Ernest Hemingway: (George Plimpton asked Hemingway for the best training for an aspiring writer): Let’s say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with.
17. Ernest Hemingway: When I am working on a book or a story, I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.
18. Ernest Hemingway (overcoming writer’s block): I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.”
19. Ernest Hemingway: When I was writing, it was necessary for me to read after I had written. If you kept thinking about it, you would lose the thing you were writing—before you could go on with it the next day.
20. Ernest Hemingway (on maintaining continuity): The best way is to read it all every day from the start, correcting as you go along, then go on from where you stopped the day before.
21. Ernest Hemingway: I was trying to write then and I found the greatest difficulty, aside from knowing truly what you really felt, rather than what you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel, was to put down what really happened in action.
22. Ernest Hemingway: When you start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none.