Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nulla Dies Sine Linea

Although writing is a solitary sport much of the time (unless you're like Anthony de la coffee shop), there is great comfort in knowing that it's a long-standing sport, with a rich and varied background. Indeed, it's older than the Olympics and has greater prestige than a well-earned gold medal in most circles.
Admit it. Who wants to run a .00005 second mile? Regardless of my sleek biceps (and struggling triceps) and my determination to do Bloomsday this year, I'm not wracked with jealousy or tickled with jogging lust. Nope. I'm happy for athletes everywhere and filled with a certain amount of dutiful admiration (which I give to anyone who accomplishes Great and Difficult Tasks that Require Much Focus and Tenacity).

But writing? Writing Rocks ALL YEAR LONG. And it does so with millions of people from a million different walks of life. I mean, seriously, let's remove the rose colored glasses. Let's get down to the nitty gritty truth. How many people have you met who have said, "Wish I could write." Or have confided, in dulcet tones, that "I'm planning on writing a novel someday." Or, "I'm working on something right now."


And those who pluck the golden ring? The world is at their feet! Crowds are cheering, panties fly through the air, and coins shower the stage.

Okay. Maybe that was a slight exaggeration, but you're with me, right?

The point is simple: you're surrounded by the most diverse, entertaining, encouraging, moody, hopeful, enthusiastic life-long learners that exist in the known universe. Writers. We are the cat's meow.

What impresses me the most is the knowledge we hold collectively. Frankly, it is awe-inspiring. I mean, sure, I could Google everything. But there's not that same pizazz, that zing, that special blend of AwesomeSauce. And it's this synergistic body of knowledge that builds and expands and pulses that truly makes me feel a part of this global community. We're more than warm fuzzies and group hugs (although, those are awesome, too!) -- we're writing fiends. And the things we know will blow the average mind.

So share some tips of the trade with us. What is your best writing advice? What have you heard, passed down from the writing gods of yore, that resonate with your writing soul? What pithy advice, gleaned from the blogs of agents and editors, rings true for you? What have you discovered on your own and crafted into a unique, alliterated proverb that you could share with us?

My favorite of all time is simple: Nulla dies sine linea. Never a day without a line.


  1. My favorite writing advice is simple and to the point, and it comes from Natalie Goldberg: Shut up and write.

    All too often, I find myself whining because the words aren't flowing as nicely as I want them to. I get grumpy and stomp around like a child. I lament on just how bad the writing is. I suck. I'll never be good, so why bother. Then, I think of this line. Shut up and write. Stop being dramatic and childish and put your butt in the chair. Type or scribble, whatever, just shut up and write.

  2. Mine is from Stephen King: Give yourself permission to be craptacular. Just get it on paper and don't worry about whether it's perfect, or perfectly awful. Cleanup is what second drafts are for!

  3. The point is simple: you're surrounded by the most diverse, entertaining, encouraging, moody, hopeful, enthusiastic life-long learners that exist in the known universe.

    This is SO true.


  4. The one that keeps running through my head is: Use the right word.

    I recently got some editing feedback that maybe I was employing a $10 word, when a string of 20cent words would do. I considered it for a moment, but then discarded the suggestion. I'd rather use one correct word than a dozen imposters hoping to kinda sorta get my point across.

  5. *sigh* this is just what I've needed to read lately. I'm a former athlete (though I've always been a writer and artist) though I was recently diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that keeps me from most athletics. I've been down and lonely hearing all about the long runs my former running buddies are going on. So, thank you for reminding me that I am doing something that many people also wish they could do and something I can do for the rest of my life, despite my "condition."

    Liz H. Allen


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