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Roger Ebert on Writing & Reading

The great critic and author Roger Ebert died yesterday, leaving behind a bookshelf filled with his writing.

The film critic also wrote a number of essays and posts about the writing life, sharing some valuable advice for all writers. To celebrate his memory, we’ve collected some of our favorite Ebert quotes. Ebert offered this advice for writers:

There is no such thing as waiting for inspiration. The idea of “diagramming” an essay in advance, as we are taught in school, may be useful to students but is foolishness for any practicing writer. The Muse visits during the process of creation, not before.

He wrote this about self-help books:

An honest bookstore would post the following sign above its ‘self-help’ section: ‘For true self-help, please visit our philosophy, literature, history and science sections, find yourself a good book, read it, and think about it.

Finally, he wrote about reading:

At the end of the day, some authors will endure and most, including some very good ones, will not. Why do I think reading is important? It is such an effective medium between mind and mind. We think largely in words. A medium made only of words doesn’t impose the barrier of any other medium. It is naked and unprotected communication. That’s how you get pregnant. May you always be so.

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