William Faulkner

Read Read Read

“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

William Faulkner


The more I read, the more apparent it becomes to me how well-read an individual writer happens to be when I read them. It’s hard to pin down exactly, more of a general feeling that carries through the work as a whole. It makes me want to push myself to read beyond my own proclivities and focus on reading more/wider/broader.

Also and unintentionally, this is the second December in a row where I’ve shared a Faulkner quote. (Here’s what I shared last year.) Maybe this is becoming a tradition?

Octavia Butler

Forget Talent

“Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent.”

Octavia E. Butler


Back around the beginning of the year, I shared a quote from Butler that’s quite similar to this one, but instead of talent, that previous quote focused on inspiration. The reason they sound so similar is that they’re both are taken from the same essay on writing advice: Furor Scribendi.

The essay was initially published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume IX but luckily you can find a reprinting of in her collection Bloodchild: And Other Stories which I’d recommend for the titular story alone.