January 21, 2010

It is not the critic who counts...

When I feel frustrated, I like to look to quotes for inspiration. Here are some of my favorites:
Brevity is the sister of talent. - Anton Chekhov
My writing style is concise, so I like to ponder this quote when I see other authors' word counts and worry my book isn't long enough. Quality over quantity, after all.
If there is a gun hanging on the wall in the first act, it must fire in the third. - Anton Chekhov
This reminds me that everything in a novel must have a purpose.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt
What a powerful notion - in order to achieve success, failure is inevitable. This quote encourages me to keep striving for my dreams, even when I am what is standing in the way of achieving them. It reminds me that I am DOING something with my life, regardless of what "the critic" might say.
Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence. - Vince Lombardi
If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will, either.

When all else fails, I am inspired by this woman's work:

If I ever met her, I'd probably burst into tears!

JK Rowling's writing may not be the most 'literary,' but she created a beloved, rich world full of things that make me happy and sad in all the right ways. I don't necessarily aim to write like her, but I always aim to make my book mean something, which I think she's done rather fabulously!

What are some of your favorite inspirational quotes? What inspires you to keep going when you just want to quit?


Chandra said...

"And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, be at peace with your soul. With all its shame, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." -Part of Desiderata

Abby Stevens said...

That is beautiful, Chandra. Thank you for sharing. My grandmother has Desiderata framed in her office, but I've never really appreciated it until today (I looked the full text up after reading your comment). :-)

What this means to me is you can be an optimist despite also being a realist. I think you can be both - it's hard, but possible. Realism doesn't have to equate cynicism, because there is so much beauty in the world (if you take the time to look for it).

Kristen said...

Hi :) I just wanted to say that I think this post is a lovely idea: Here is one of my favorite inspirational quotes... (I look to this one whenever I am writing queries GULP lol):

"But it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. He who has never failed somewhere, that man cannot be great. Failure is the true test of greatness."
-Herman Melville

Abby Stevens said...

Thank you Kristen and welcome to my blog! I think that quote is great! It's amazing how closely success and failure are tied, but like the quotes say, the difference between those who succeed and those who fail is that those who succeed persevere through failure, and those who fail, just fail.

Kristen said...

Or it's just that those who perservere are crazy enough to keep trying no matter what lol (amost writers tend to be!):)

Abby Stevens said...

Always a possibility! :D

Kristen said...

Well I for one don't mind being crazy in this sense lol

Rachel Bateman said...

You may have already seen this, but if you have not, I suggest watching it!

It's JK Rowling's commencement address from Harvard graduation 2008. It is incredibly inspiring.


Abby Stevens said...

Yep, I love her!

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