Ten Rules For Writing Fiction

December 14, 2018

1. Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.

2. Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether.

3. Love what you do.

4. Be honest with yourself. If you are no good, accept it. If the work you are doing is no good, accept it.

5. Don’t hold on to poor work. If it was bad when it went in the drawer it will be just as bad when it comes out.

6. Take no notice of anyone you don’t respect.

7. Take no notice of anyone with a gender agenda. A lot of men still think that women lack imagination of the fiery kind.

8. Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward.

9. Trust your creativity.

10. Enjoy this work!

Jeanette Winterson
Ten Rules For Writing Fiction
Guardian February 2010

Fairy tales — the proper kind, those original Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen tales I recall from my Eastern European childhood, unsanitized by censorship and unsweetened by American retellings — affirm what children intuitively know to be true but are gradually taught to forget, then to dread: that the terrible and the terrific spring from the same source, and that what grants life its beauty and magic is not the absence of terror and tumult but the grace and elegance with which we navigate the gauntlet.

Maria Popova
The Importance of Being Scared: Polish Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska on Fairy Tales and the Necessity of Fear


December 14, 2018

It’s no secret that I love wild little girls. The ones with unbrushed hair and torn leggings; the ones who won’t hug Great Aunt Maude just because she expected it. The ones who just won’t learn how to act in a skirt. But here’s the deeper thing: My wish, my fragile dream, is to raise a woman who never stops being wild.

Maybe she cuts off all her hair because it was a bother. Maybe she grows it long because it’s beautiful. Maybe she always wears skirts. Maybe she never wears skirts. Hopefully, she trusts implicitly in strong arms and legs, clever fingers, quick wits–in herself. But for others, her trust must be earned, like a cat’s. Like a cat, she stays in your lap exactly as long as suits her, and no longer.

I want to raise a woman who never has to re-learn how to be free.


Eat me up, my love, or else

December 14, 2018

Everything in love is oriented toward this absorption. At the same time real love is a don’t-touch, yet still an almost-touching. Tact itself: a phantom touching. Eat me up, my love, or else I’m going to eat you up. Fear of eating, fear of the edible, fear on the part of the one of them who feels loved, desired, who wants to be loved, desired, who desires to be desired, who knows that there is no greater proof of love than the other’s appetite, who is dying to be eaten up yet scared to death by the idea of being eaten up, who says or doesn’t say, but who signifies: I beg you, eat me up. Want me down to the marrow. And yet manage it so as to keep me alive. But I often turn about or compromise, because I know that you won’t eat me up, in the end, and I urge you: bite me. Sign my death with your teeth.

Hélène Cixous
Love of the Wolf