F. Scott Fitzgerald for Writers


Last week, I wrote about Hemingway, the Blogger. To continue the famous-author theme, I’m sharing favorite quotes from F. Scott Ftizgerald — with interpretation through an author’s lense.

My Amazon sunset photo. Little Gem in the maze field.

“Never confuse a single failure with a final defeat.”     These words should be tatooed across the top of the hands of every person pounding a keyboard in hopes of a literary contract. Remember, C.S. Lewis received more than eight hundred rejections before being published. Take heart and invest your “undiscovered” time perfecting your craft.

“Cut out exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”  Although Fitzgerald would never admit it, he’s telling us to write like Hemingway.

“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”    Keep your eyes open so you’ll know where you’re going. Push through the pain. Don’t stop too soon. And wait until you surface to open your mouth. Watch, listen, and learn — then write truth about all of it.

“I like people, and I like them to like me. But I wear my heart where God put it, on the inside.”    Be courteous and a joy to work with. Be thick-skinned, take criticism, and accomplish the task at hand with grace. Be professional. PROFESSIONAL.

“No grand idea has ever been born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there.”     Writing is, for all the agents and critique groups and guilds and editors, a solitary journey. If you don’t enjoy being a hermit, you might want to pursue another dream. Writers face their demons alone. Stay true to yourself, but prepare for the market to reject you and your work.

“…the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.”     Reworking a chapter (or more). Receiving an excellent-but-brutal edit (that transforms your manuscript). Hearing that your novel made it to the publishing board (before being dismissed because your heroine was “too atypical”). Fitzgerald insanely overstates the satisfactions of struggle, but I like the quote. Master “struggle,” and you’ll survive.

Do you have a favorite Fitzgerald line, quote or work? Or have the words of another famous author helped you stay the course of your writing adventure? I’d love to hear from you.[subscribe2]


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