ON WRITING

Billy Osogo

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly changed life as we knew it heretofore. With severe restrictions on movement imposed by most governments, there’s only so much one can do.

Part of what I have had more time to do during this pandemic is to read widely. There’s something exclusively inimitable about the written word. It’s ability to teleport the reader to rooms, worlds and spaces we’d otherwise never been in, is such a powerful thing.

One of the most insightful books I have read on the subject of writing is by Stephen King, On Writing, which as you can tell by now, inspired the title to this post.

As we work round the clock to adapt to the new normal, here are a few quotes on writing from some of my favorite authors.

Toni Morrison (The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations)

“Writers are among the most sensitive, most intellectually anarchic, most representative, most probing of artists. The writer’s ability to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange, and to mystify the familiar – all this is the test of her or his power.”

Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)

“Everything that’s written in my books is part of my soul, part of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life, and which I try to apply to myself. I’m a reader of my own books.”

Oprah Winfrey (What I Know For Sure)

“What I know for sure is that reading opens you up. It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold. What I love most about reading is that it gives you the ability to reach higher ground and keep climbing.”

Stephen King (On Writing)

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around those two things that I am aware of, no shortcut.”

Kamala Harris (The Truths We Hold)

“Words have the ability to empower and deceive, the power to soothe and to hurt.”

Chinua Achebe (There Was A Country)

“As a writer, I believe that it is fundamentally important, indeed essential to our humanity, to ask the hard questions in order to better understand ourselves and our neighbors.”

Brene Brown (I Thought It Was Just Me)

“Stories require voices to speak them and ears to listen to hear them. Stories only foster connection when there is both someone to speak and someone to listen.”

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (Writers in Politics)

“The poet and the politician have certainly many things in common. Both trade in words. Both are created by the same reality of the world around us. Their activity and concern have the same subject and object: human beings and human relations.”

Tell me, who have you been reading lately? What’s one thing you have learned from your reading that has had an impact on your life?

87 thoughts on “ON WRITING

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    1. Hey Joy!

      Dr. Brown is an amazing author!

      That’s the power of literature. That people from all over the world can relate to and see their story in other people’s stories!

      Thank you for making time 😊

      Stay safe, stay well.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’ve been having my second run of ‘Think & Grow Rich’ by Napoleon hill. And every line etches an unch deeper on my soul.

        As far as reading and writing is concerned, many people ask me for ways of becoming a great writer. They wait for a grand formula not found in any book in any way, shape or form.

        To their surprise, I often tell them, “you cannot give what you don’t have. Read, and read, and read. Then write”.

        Liked by 4 people

  1. The collective amnesia regarding history is annoying. How could people assume a pandemic couldn’t happen? We had warning shots with MERS and SARS. Polio wasn’t that far in the past. Admittedly, high school texts fall shot in covering events like the Spanish flu, if students are still paying attention toward the end of the school year. The hubris is saying β€œit can’t happen again here” is astounding.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Authors are probably the least appreciated artists ever!
      The world’s greatest orators are always great readers first. Authors are to great orators what masters are to monks.
      I’m a huge fan of Paulo Coelho’s work. I’m actually currently reading his book, ‘The Alchemist’…for probably the 100th time now.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. You are officially an AlchemisenturianπŸ˜‚

        If you read it one more time, you’ll have a PhD in alchemy πŸ˜‚

        You are absolutely right. To read well is to speak well.

        It’s no wonder at some point in his presidency, President Bush 43 would be seen jumping out of Marine One holding a copy of the ‘Alchemist’.

        Like

  2. Well penned! I must appreciate the way you have delineated your thoughts. Great!!
    Hey, I have recently started blogging on positivity, so I invite you to stop by my blog sometime. If you like then do shower some love.
    Thanks! Have a great day!!

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Thank you for this post. I didn’t get to read much as I intended to as where I live was somewhat business as usual and it was working around the clock during two short phases of the year with the lockdown. During lockdown it was work from home.
    I managed to get hold of 11/22/63 just before the lockdown and ended up reading it for an entire 09 months. The story telling is mind blowing as always with Stephen King. A non-horror booked based about time travel. Really took me places.
    Second fascinating book was about regenerative agriculture. a book called ‘Kiss the Ground” by Josh Tickell. This was inspiring and and eye opener. I began to see how I should take care of my tiny garden a balcony even in containers. I wish more people would read and educate thenselves about the need to protect our soil. It will solve a lot of problems for us.
    The other book I read was “The Afgan” by Frederick Forsyth. Superb book to read.

    Liked by 10 people

  4. Oh wow, this was a great selection of quotes on writing indeed. I’m a sucker for books on the craft, but my second favourite thing to do is to read about what authors have to SAY on the process itself. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Hey Stuart!

      Ah, finally, a kindred spirit πŸ˜ƒ

      I love books on the craft as well! It’s such an entertaining, educative and insightful way on growing in the trade!

      Thank you for making time 😊

      Stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been reading “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F Saad, and working through the exercises. Turns out, I’m not the rock star I thought.

    This was an excellent collection of thoughts made flesh. I enjoy pointed and prescient quotes and wish I did a better job of retaining them. At least I can return here for sustenance. 😊

    Liked by 8 people

  6. I love Brene Brown,am on her Gifts of imperfection, am starting to see myself and those around me different and to me that’s growth,she has a beautiful insight into understanding and loving our imperfections

    Liked by 9 people

  7. Now I need to read that book! I’ve heard so many food things about it. Thanks for sharing😊
    I always say that reading saved my life. πŸ’œI was a weird little kid and books became my friends, and my comfort.
    These days I love memoirs. You can learn so much from the ordinary (and not so ordinary) lives of others.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Hey Seasonelle!

      I couldn’t agree more.

      I LOVE memoirs. It’s such a fulfilling experience to learn from the lives of others. Writing in hindsight, examining one’s life, the fortitude to spell out one’s failures and successes, must be one of the greatest gift to mankind.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. My problem wit a Stephen King’s advice is that he says the only dialogue tag that should be used is β€œsaid”. Listening to any Harry Potter audiobook and it’s quickly apparent how horrid and repetitive that is.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I have been reading ‘Remember Me, ‘ by Mary Higgins Clark. It is an intriguing suspense novel on crime and love.

    I find reading to be one of the greatest stepping stones to greatness.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Nice read indeed Billy.

    I’ve been reading ‘The 5am Club’ by Robin Sharma and my take home so far is that in everything you do, give your 100% and do it with love. That’s the only way to stand out.

    I look forward to reading your work. Always something to learn or see in a different point of view.
    ❀️❀️

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Hey Terry πŸ˜ƒ

      Robin Sharma is a terrific author πŸ™ŒπŸΏ

      100% in everything! That’s the way to go πŸ’ͺ🏿

      Thank you for making time 😊

      Stay safe 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey MalaikaπŸ˜ƒ

      Did you know that Malaika in Swahili means angel πŸ˜‡

      I am glad you find it inspiring. Read more, write more!

      Thank you for making time 😊

      Like

  11. Ever since I managed to get a break from school I’ve been reading everything and anything really, from cook books to self help books to short stories or just novels.
    They always have something new to offer which I greatly appreciate and every time I read I aspire to be like Ralph Waldo who said “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me” because I still can remember the books I’ve readπŸ˜‚

    Anyway great piece Rais πŸ‘πŸΎ
    Looking forward to reading some of the books you’ve quoted there.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Engineer, it’s good to hear from you.

      That’s the spirit! Devour everything πŸ‘πŸΏ

      Ralph is a fantastic authorπŸ™ŒπŸΏ

      Thank you for making time 😊

      Like

  12. Collection of great books by a great author!
    I’ve been reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Mason. Mark says and I quote, “Who you are is identified by what you’re willing to struggle for” and I could agree more.
    I have since a compelling reason to keep struggling for what I want.

    You’re doing an outstanding job here Mr. President, thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I love these quotes that you’ve thoughtfully shared with us! Such great snippets. I’ve been rotating on 4 books over the last couple months, Women Who Run With Wolves (fav book ever), The Dragonblood Legacy (a friend’s first draft of his book), Sense of Style (a writing style guide), and Things Fall Apart (a reco from a good friend πŸ™‚ ). I’ve been thankful for the extra time I’ve found for myself to read and write daily πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Ellen πŸ˜ƒ

      I see your reading plate has been full!

      Indeed, one must always be grateful for those precious moments we can steal to read and write😊

      It’s good to hear from you 😊

      Stay well 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  14. As an African writer, Achebe’s work greatly influences my writing. Seeing his quote here has reminded me to go back to my roots. Thank you for the timely reminder. I enjoyed all quotes – soothing & sweet…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Ayinla!

      Achebe is undoubtedly the first amongst equals when it comes to African authors πŸ™ŒπŸΏ

      I am glad you enjoyed this piece and feel called back to your roots.

      As Achebe himself said,

      “A child who washes his hands can sit with the elders.”

      Thank you for making time 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  15. “When you are invited for dinner, do not take away the cutlery”. This single quote…found it on “Breaking my Virginity” by Richard Branson as he talks about how he setup Virgin Atlantic Company. This can be put in many contexts with regards to our daily activities and interactions with other people; our coexisting which I think is fundamental in our existence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OG!

      That’s one hella of quote!

      Richard Branson is the gift that keeps on giving. His books are so full of lessons learned the hard way.

      It’s good to hear from you!

      Stay safe!

      Like

  16. I am a licensed teacher and homeschool mom, so I get to read a world history textbook aloud every day to my children-students (well-written textbook that reads like a story.) This reminds me how nothing is really new, and we need to learn from global history. Having 11 children allows me the rich joy of reading kid / young adult books, which are surprisingly well-written. Having these children, I sometimes need some β€œme time.” πŸ™‚ I frequently go for 3 mile walks where I plug an audiobook into my ear — right now it is Young James Bond by Charlie Higson. My reading material might sound light compared to yours! However, I think it has been seeping into my writing in the form of dialogue, humor and rich vocabulary. Finally, I am a Christian, so I read the Bible. This reminds me who I am (like every other human being, I am made in God’s image) and how to treat other people (right now I am reading and copying from Colossians 3:12-15) Thank you for the opportunity to gather my thoughts about reading, and also for visiting my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Word SoupπŸ˜ƒ

      It’s my pleasure 😊

      You have a full plate!

      I am in awe that you make time for walks and audio books πŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏ

      It’s good to read from you.

      Stay safe!

      Like

  17. When I was young I read a lot and some writers helped me to believe that I was not alone. Gorky’s book on his childhood was especially important to me then. Currently I have returned to fiction after reading a lot of history and have rediscovered John le Carre. John Dickinson

    Liked by 1 person

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