Prolific western writer Louis L’Amour wrote in his autobiographical Education of a Wandering Man, “A writer’s brain is like a magician’s hat. If you’re going to get anything out of it, you have to put something in first.”
That’s why reading well and widely is crucial to a writer’s development. You don’t have to read everything, of course; just everything I’ve written.
I’m only half joking. But in addition to reading my books, you might consider some of the books I’ve read lately. The following portions I’ve highlighted might motivate you:
“If one does not believe in God, he is forced to believe in miracle, the very thing he condemns in the believer” (E. Stanley Jones, Abundant Living).
“Somewhere out there, there’s another Tolkein. Somewhere out there, men and women with redeemed, integrated imaginations are sitting down to spin a tale that awakens, a tale that leaves the reader with a painful longing that points them home, a tale whose fictional beauty begets beauty in the present world and heralds the world to come. Someone out there is building a bridge so we can slip across to elf-land and smuggle back some of its light into this present darkness” (Andrew Peterson, Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making).
“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Complete Prose Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson).
“English has a lot of synonyms for ‘fool’ or ‘idiot.’ Perhaps you take this to mean that English speakers are mean-spirited; I simply reply that necessity is the mother of invention” (Kory Stamper, Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries).
“The best way to learn about books . . . is to spend time with them, talk about them, defend them” (Charlie Lovett, The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession).
“Don’t go to the grave with your best work still inside of you. Die empty” (Todd Henry, The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice).
“O, there is lovely to feel a book, a good book, firm in the hand, for its fatness holds rich promise, and you are hot inside to think of good hours to come” (Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley).
“Like all of my friends, she’s a lousy judge of character” (David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day).
“And though she be but little, she is fierce” (William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
Those are from only nine of the most recent books I’ve read. So much good stuff. How about you? Care to share some of the highlighted portions of your most recent reads?