Saturday, May 17, 2008

Quotes from Ancient Greeks

I was at work the other day and flipped through a book of "Ancient Wisdom." Inside there was a quote from some brilliant Greek philosopher (I think he was Greek) that went along the lines of this:

"If you want to be a good reader: read. If you want to be a good writer: write."

Now, before everyone thinks that I'm about to defend reading as a good tool for writers, let me ask a slightly different question:

Do better writers really write more? Does quantity count--because inevitably a writer will hit on something worthwhile, or because the lessons are learned faster with the larger quantity of words? Can you discover that one author is 'better' than another (more successful, more lauded) simply by looking at the amount of words they've put out over their lifetime--or lack thereof?

3 comments:

  1. It's a tricky question - on one hand, quantity does not automatically equal quality. On the other hand, the best way to get good at something is to practice it, which means write more pages if you're a writer.

    So, no. And yes. Um... yeah. It depends.

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  2. I think perhaps it's not the number of words but the number of days a year you write. Even if you just write a sentence, you're allowing those writerly juices to flow. You're staring at that blank page, maybe even paying homage to it.

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  3. It can't simply be quantity, otherwise the old saw about 100 monkeys in a room with typewriters---yadda yadda. But I do think you've got to get to the good stuff somehow and that takes writing some bad stuff.

    And getting good feedback.

    And doing the revising.

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