Why must you write?

I think I came out of the womb writing. The first thing I ever sold was when I was 10 years old. A five-part serial to the Cleveland News young people’s column. And before that I was doing my own little newspaper in the neighborhood. I’ve always written. I never decided to be a writer, I was just… There’s a scene of a film called “The Red Shoes,” where Moira Shearer, who was a brilliant ballerina, is talking to the ballet entrepreneur. A Balanchine kind of figure. And he says to her, “Why must you dance?” She wants to join his company and she thinks about it a moment and then she says to him, “Why must you breathe?” And he says, “I must!” And she smiles and walks away. I didn’t choose to be a writer. Thats what I am — I’m a writer.”

— Harlan Ellison

I used to make my own newspapers, too. End geeky aside.

Becoming a writer

“Because, in truth, I didn’t become a writer the first time I put pen to paper or when I finished my first book (easy) or my second one (hard). You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway. Wasn’t until that night when I was faced with all those lousy pages that I realized, really realized, what it was exactly that I am.”

– Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” featured in Oprah.com

Currently reading

“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. … It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head — even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.”

— Malcolm Gladwell, “What the Dog Saw”

Countdown to New York

“It is our numerous weak ties, rather than our fewer strong ones, that really matter. The idea that proximity to total strangers is more important than connections to lifelong friends may seem strange, until you think about how networks function. The beauty of weak ties is that they bring us new information. Chances are, you and your friends travel in mostly the same circles. You know the same people, frequent the same places, and hear about the same opportunities. Weak ties are more numerous and take less effort to maintain. They introduce a bit of chaos into the equation, which more often than not is the key to identifying new opportunities and ideas.”

— WHO’S YOUR CITY? by Richard Florida