Save on office supplies at Amazon.


Zola: Famous writers from A to Z on writing

Writers often have unusual ways of viewing the world. We look at life in ways that may seem weird to others. Often, we try to make sense of it. Or we attempt to describe it with words that point to fuller understanding, deeper meaning, enjoyment, artistry, or entertainment.

French novelist and playwright Emile Edouard Charles Antoine Zola (1840-1902) might have meant something along such lines when he said this:

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”

If living out loud meant practicing political activism, bending societal boundaries of the time, and publishing plenty of attention-getting works, then Zola fulfilled his self-declared ambition. Books by Emile Zola include Germinal, Nana, Pot Luck, The Beast Within, The Belly of Paris, The Flood, The Fortune of the Rougons, The Ladies' Paradise, and The Masterpiece.

Clearly, Emile Zola was a gifted writer, although he pointed to the importance of effort:

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”

Gifted talent and hard work only pay off with practice, at least according to this third Emile Zola quotation for writers:

“There are two men inside the artist: the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.”

Even today, writing teachers almost unanimously trumpet the importance of melding natural talent with training, practice, purpose, and plenty of hard work – whether it all becomes published or not.

A to Z Blogging Challenge promo logo – fair use
Graphic adapted from public domain image

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter.


Yolen: Famous writers from A to Z on writing

Where does writing start? How does a writer find his or her voice and begin to pursue the best and busiest communication career possible?
Jane Hyatt Yolen (1939-____) is an award-winning American poet, children’s author, and science fiction writer. Her best known books include the popular Commander Toad series, How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night, How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday, How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You, Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls, Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic (which became a 1999 movie with Kristen Dunst, Brittany Murphy, and Mimi Rogers), and The Seeing Stick.

Consider this telling Jane Yolen quote, which offers a clue by breaking writing down into the most basic form possible.

“Take a step. Breathe in the world. Give it out again in story, poem, song, or art.”

Once started, is it possible for a writer to sustain this simplicity and still crank out plenty of worthy materials? This additional Jane Yolen statement offers a secret to productive and prolific writing, as well as how to practice the craft.

“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.”

As a writer who has published so many titles for children, Yolen displays a clever sense of humor, as well as an appreciation for childhood creativity. This third Jane Yolen quotation illustrates this idea:

“Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.”

We have to wonder how many grown-up writers first caught the wordsmithing spark while enjoying read-aloud books as youngsters.

A to Z Blogging Challenge promo logo – fair use
Graphic adapted from public domain image

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter.


Xenophon: Famous writers from A to Z on writing

Writing trends and practices may have changed considerably throughout history, but some of the basics remain the same. For example, working writers must often juggle deadlines and the extra work it takes to create quality reading. 

Xenophon (430 -354 BC) was a Greek historian, as well as a soldier. His most well-known works included Anabasis, Conversations of Socrates, Hellenica, The Art of Horsemanship, The Persian Expedition, and The Symposium. Here’s how this Classical wordsmith described the tension between timing and true writing:

“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.”

Fact-checking and proofreading take time. Today, many writers ply their trade online, frequently publishing tons of content efficiently and promptly without the safety net of any editors. Producing clear, factual, timely material can be challenging.

What happens (at least in an ideal world) when a skilled writer does deliver well-crafted work on time? Hopefully, those who read it will recognize the worth of what they have been offered.

That’s when the truth of this additional Xenophon quote kicks in.

“The sweetest of all sounds is praise.”

Real writers don’t write simply for rave reviews. But they sure are rewarding when they happen.

A to Z Blogging Challenge promo logo – fair use
Graphic adapted from public domain image

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter.