The best writing advice I’ve ever received is from a dead man. Mainly, it comes from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. I thought I’d share some of my favorite inspirational quotes from him today, as they were the most influential in my finishing and publishing The Field. Enjoy!
“Avoid those forms that are too facile and ordinary: they are the hardest to work with, and it takes a great, fully ripened power to create something individual where good, even glorious traditions exist in abundance.”
“Irony: Don’t let yourself be controlled by it, especially during uncreative moments.”
“Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast.”
“Have patience with everything unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
“Don’t observe yourself too closely. Don’t be too quick to draw conclusions from what happens to you; simply let it happen.”