Aphorisms About Writing at Real Pants

by | Sep 27, 2019 | PGP Habitat

Writing advice is everywhere, and thoughts about the craft are a dime a dozen. Here are some more.

This old Real Pants post came across my desk today. Since Michael, Amy, and I put it together going on four years ago, I thought it worth another look.

Here are twenty aphorisms about the writing life. I’ve just posted my favorites here. You can read the rest at Real Pants (for as long as that old website stays active, anyway …)

  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. “Every sentence is a shovelful of dirt to bury the sentence before it.” —Amy McDaniel
  5. “If you can vividly remember the way it made you feel when you finished writing something years ago, you’re a writer.” —Adam Robinson
  6. “Someone asked me once, ‘What do you write about,’ and I politely declined a third date.” —Amy McDaniel
  7. “I’m not concerned about the size of my vocabulary, but about the elasticity of my lexicon.” —Amy McDaniel
  8. “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
  9. “Write like your life depended on it. It doesn’t, but what else are you going to do?” —Michael Kimball
  10. “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
  11. “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
  12. “Writing is like a video game, except it’s free to start over.” —Michael Kimball and Adam Robinson
  13. “Aphorisms about writing are like the water water that’s everywhere but you can’t drink it.” —Amy McDaniel
  14. “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
  15. “Writing is a life saver, the kind that melts in your mouth.” —Michael Kimball
  16. “Prompts and constraints generally inspire better work.” —Adam Robinson
  17. “It is hard to accept that people aren’t trying to be mean when they ask what I’m working on.” —Amy McDaniel
  18. “The best app for writing is a nAppkin.” —Adam Robinson
  19. “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
  20. “You can make up whatever you want. A story can be absolutely anything.” —Michael Kimball

And then in the comments to the post, Josh Lefkowitz added a stinker stunner:

“Writing is like taking a shit. It stinks, but man does it feel good to push it out.” – Josh Lefkowitz


And speaking of old things, the featured image for this post is an old header from Publishing Genius that was in use back in 2013. It was an “outtake” from Ellen Phillips’ cover art options for Night Moves by Stephanie Barber.

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