Thinking Allowed - Including musings by Daan Spijer.

Book Reviews

November 4, 2009

Words to Inspire Writers

words_to_inspire_writers-coverWords to Inspire Writers

Edited by Greg Babic

Published by FC Sach & Sons

ISBN: 978-0-980372-20-5

RRP: US$20, UK£15

Available from

This is indeed an inspiring book for writers.  From time to time we sit and stare into space and the wise or goading words of writers past and present may help you to pick up the quill and dip it into the ink pot again.

The book is designed as a perpetual calendar, with three quotes for every day of the year: one each for the stages of preparation, creation and celebration.  You can also open it at random for pot luck or prepare yourself for erudition at parties.

One thing you can learn from this collection, is that some of the most famous and revered writers have had their periods of stuckness.  As Epictetus wrote almost 1900 years ago: If you want to be a writer, write! (April 14).

We may embrace the hubris of Charles Lamb and declaim: Damn the age.  I’ll write for antiquity. (August 19), or the humility of Mark Twain: A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it. (March 23).

It is possible, of course, to find writers’ quotes for oneself on the internet, but it is so much easier to benefit from the obvious hard work and thought that Greg Babic has put into this collection and his organisation of the material.  It seems that Greg agrees with GB Shaw: Some people see things as they are and ask “Why?”. I dream of things that aren’t and ask “Why not?” He has asked and answered that second question.

Many of us have experienced that writing can be a lonely way of life.  We trawl our experiences and our unconscious for inspiration.  Some of us allow family, friends and editors to make the process less lonely.  For those who still feel isolated, dip into this book daily.

I, for one, will keep this book within easy reach.  After all, if I’m going to be distracted, it may as well be by the wisdom of others.

(First published in The Australian Writer, June 2008)

© 2008-09 Daan Spijer

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