Category Archives: Quotes

Lots and lots of great quotes

Aaron Sorkin: “When you feel good you do the best writing.”

I’m currently taking an online masterclass where Aaron Sorkin, the legendary writer behind The West Wing, A Few Good Men, The Social Network and many others, teaches screen writing.

In one lesson, he underscored the importance of feeling happy while writing:

Remember, writing and painting a fence are two different things. Painting a fence may be back breaking work. But first of all, you know what you’re supposed to do. You dip the brush in the paint, and you paint.

But mostly, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light may be a long way away, it may be a really long fence. But you can see where it ends.

What you don’t need when you’re painting is to be in a good mood. You can be in any mood you want and the fence is going to turn out roughly the same.

When you’re writing, you need to be in a good mood. You need to have energy. You need to feel entertaining. You need to feel good. And that’s when you’re going to do the best writing.

So any little emotional helpers, like crossing things off and seeing that you’re making progress. Anything that’s going to make you feel good is good.

I think that’s a brilliant point.

Bertrand Russell on success

“I do not deny that the feeling of success makes it easier to enjoy life…. Nor do I deny that money, up to a certain point, is very capable of increasing happiness.

What I do maintain is that success can only be one ingredient in happiness, and is too dearly purchased if all the other ingredients have been sacrificed to obtain it.”

– Bertrand Russell

Roosevelt on making mistakes

rooseveltlaughingIt is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

– Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve been writing recently about making mistakes. One irrefutable fact about doing awesome things is that sometimes you’ll get it wrong and some people may criticize you for that.

And that’s where the above quote comes in :)