Monday, March 5, 2012

Anyone else out there participating in Seekerville's Speedbo challenge this month? "Speedbo" runs from March 1st through March 31st, and the purpose/goal is to finish whatever it is you're currently writing - whatever rough draft you've been wanting to finish but just haven't made the time for. I'm an official participant (you can find out more about that on my personal blog), and let me tell you, I'm being reminded that writing really is hard work, especially when you want to write anything longer than a blog post!

For my 17th-19th Century British Literature class, I recently read excerpts of Samuel Johnson's (1709-1784) work. Today I thought I'd share with all you writers out there (whether you're participating in Speedbo or not) some of Johnson's words about, well, words...

  • "The chief glory of every people arises from its authors: whether I shall add anything by my own writings to the reputation of English literature must be left to time..." (from A Dictionary of the English Language, "Conclusion")

I think it's safe to say that Johnson certainly did add something! ;) Authors do play an important role in society, and I think this is a great reminder that writing is a worthwhile and meaningful endeavor.

  • " book was ever spared out of tenderness to the author, and the world is little solicitous to know whence proceeded the faults of that which it condemns..." (from A Dictionary of the English Language, "Conclusion")

Mmmhmmm... As a book reviewer, this is a bit convicting! But as a writer, I think that this is helpful and somehow comforting. Yes, if you're published, you probably won't be spared harsh criticisms - but know that you're not alone, as "no book was ever spared."

  • "To a poet nothing can be useless. Whatever is beautiful, and whatever is dreadful, must be familiar to his imagination: he must be conversant with all that is awfully vast or elegantly little." (from The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, "Chapter 10")

As novelists, we're like poets in the sense that we paint pictures with our words and use symbolism to convey deeper meanings. And so, I think this quote offers some good advise about drawing from all areas of life to fuel and enrich our writing.

Wherever you are on your writing journey, hope this trip to "where the past meets the present" encouraged you! Anyone have any other Samuel Johnson quotes to share? Or feel free to share any recent writing news so we can celebrate with you or cheer you on!


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