"Write what you know." --Mark Twain
Okay, we've all heard this, and it's all a matter of how we interpret what we "know." Taken too literally, this is the worst advice ever (or maybe that’s just my strong bias toward fantasy speaking). Interpreted differently, we get to mix our concrete experiences with emotions, dreams, and imagination. What's in your brain is still something you know, even if other people don't see it.
I much prefer this quote:
"Writers don't write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don't. If you wrote from experience, you'd get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy." --Nikki Giovanni
"No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up."
This is another of those quotes I agree with half of. Of course you should never give up. But as for the rest of it? No! I'm not going to ignore what my body or my mind is telling me and push beyond the breaking point. That is how you burn yourself out and eventually end up quitting for good.
It's okay to take a break. It's okay, and it's actually really important, to take care of yourself. It's also okay to have one of those terrible days where you can't function. But having a bad day doesn't equate to giving up. Rant about it, cry about it, sleep on it, and then start fresh tomorrow.
Richard Bach: A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
Well. That's a delightful thought. All the greatest anythings started out as beginners, right?
Ernest Hemingway: There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
First of all, ew.
Of course we should write about the harder, darker, scary, painful things. It makes our writing real, gives it strength and emotion. But it needs to be balanced with the light and humorous. I feel like quotes like this one encourage a style of writing that is nothing but the dark stuff. And that doesn't make it emotional and real, it makes it, well, really boring. All one note. I can't care that a character is suffering if that's literally all they've ever experienced. But someone who had happiness, and something huge was taken from them--that's better. They need to still have something left to fight for, something left to lose. Being up high all the time never made for an interesting ride, but neither does being low all the time. You need both to make a roller coaster.
Oh crap, did I just make my own "inspirational writing quote"? Must be time to stop this nonsense.