220px-Francis_Scott_Fitzgerald_1937_June_4_(1)_(photo_by_Carl_van_Vechten)If you look over quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald, you realize what a sad bastard he was (“Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy”; “Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat”). But, naturally, he had some smart things to say about writing that it behooves us all to keep in mind:

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” [He clearly didn’t anticipate the electronic communication age, in which we are all constantly compelled to use exclamation points, because they somehow indicate that we are not being sarcastic or cold or unenthusiastic. But still, point taken for formal, published writing.]

“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”

“Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.”

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” [Amen.]

“Action is character.”