Start Anywhere

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“There’s no need to find the right starting place. With a big task or a confusing problem when you don’t know where to start, begin with the most obvious thing, whatever is in front of you. The notion that there is no such thing as a proper beginning and the search to find that ideal starting place, robs us of time. We distance ourselves from the task, and the vision of what it will take to do it makes tackling the job seem mountainous. Once a job is under way you have a new and more realistic perspective. You are inside the problem while looking at it rather than standing safely at the perimeter. The ‘Start Anywhere” rule is liberating. It means that you can make progress on some dream or dreaded task at any time.”

Tough as a Rhino

White rhino & friend
Arno Meintjes
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“…don’t let the judgment of any editor poison the intense, intimate, and necessary relationship that you have with your own work. Keep the two things scrupulously separate. The self that writes may need to be a delicate and protected creature, but the self that submits to magazines ought to be as tough as a rhino’s butt.”

  • Christian Wiman
  • Bullseye: How to Submit to Poetry
  • Poets & Writers, May/June 2009

A Sustained Act of Empathy

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“The job description for the author is to imagine the lives of others … I do believe that what’s so exciting and terrifying about the writing process is that it really is an act of exploration and discovery. With all of us, not just writers, there is a sort of knowledge of the other. We have a lot more in common than we realize, and I think writing is really a sustained act of empathy.”