Quote of the Week: Phyllis A. Whitney

“You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft -- then you can add all the genius you like.” -- Phyllis A. Whitney

Phyllis A. Whitney, the author of over 70 novels, died yesterday after a brief illness. She was 104 and her career as an author spanned eight decades. And her advice here? It’s still real good. Wanting to enough. It can not be put any simpler, yet it’s something very easily overlooked.

A would-be author recently told me she knows she has a book in her, but life is too busy. She doesn’t have time to write. She’s tired at the end of her day. And those are valid reasons, but if she wanted to enough, they would not stand in her way.

So, goodnight, Phyllis. And thanks for doing something extraordinary at a time when it was even more difficult to do so. And for doing it so well for so very long.

More details on Whitney and her life are here on January Magazine.


Clea Simon said…
this is great, Linda. I actually teach writing (no jokes about those who can't do, please. Those who can't make a full living at writing, teach, too) and I think I'l be using this! - Clea
Hey, Clea: no. Don't you remember? "Those who can, do. Those who can't, transcend.."

How soon they forget!

And, hey: Stephen King teaches writing, doll. And I figure -- just maybe? -- he makes a living writing. So there.

But, yeah: it's a rockin' good quote. And 70 novels over eight decades? Methinks the old girl knew what she was talkin' about! (Plus it resonates, doesn't it?)
Come to think of it, Clea, the John Irving quote I ran at the end of September is all about writing, too. And it's something I'm holding in my head and in my heart right now. I find I don't want to say more than that, but his words bring me a small measure of comfort.

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