First Law of Writing


Sir Isaac Newton

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
—Newton’s Third Law of Motion

For every truth uttered by a writer there is an equal and opposite truth available from another writer.
—Marion Dane Bauer’s First Law of Writing

John Keats, in an 1818 letter: “If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.”

Elizabeth Bishop: “Writing poetry is an unnatural act. It takes skill to make it seem natural.”


Dear Readers.

Perhaps the first law of writing is really that some days writers run out of fuel.

I find myself needing a bit of space from the demands of this blog, so some weeks—like this one—I will step back, offer a quote or two or an idea to think about and no more. Then I’ll return full on the next week.

Perhaps those of you who are honoring my words by reading them every week will enjoy the break, too. If not, you can always go into the archives to find a blog you haven’t read . . . or have read and forgotten the way I have probably forgotten writing it.