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Have Hope! Life and Writing Advice from Literature by Rochelle Melander

December 29, 2015


Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,


I’m taking a few weeks off from work to read and write and spend time with my family. If all is going according to plan, I’m in Three Pines right now with Armand Gamache and friends.  I’ll be back in the office on January 5, 2016.

Today’s tip offers you some advice from favorite authors of mine.


Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach





IMG_2590I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, revisiting books and photos from years past. I’ve spent time looking back over my commonplace books—journals filled with quotes from my favorite books.






When I finish a book, I always have many pages turned down. For many years, I’ve copied out my favorite quotes, like this one from Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott:



I thought it would be fun to end the year of Write Now! Tips with wisdom from my some of the books and characters I’ve loved. I hope you will find wisdom in these words, too. And perhaps you’ll start your own tradition of a commonplace book.



On Your Calling

from Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

Then, stroking my face with her rough hands, she said, “Little Bird, in the world to come, you will not be asked, ‘Why were you not George?’ or ‘Why were you not Perkin?’ but ‘Why were you not Catherine?’ (13)






Untitled design-3On Planning

from Plain and Simple: A Journey to the Amish by Sue Bender

Never having enough time, I wanted it all, a glutton for new experience. Excited, attracted, distracted, tempted in all directions, I thought I was lucky to have so many choices and I naively believed I could live them all. (6)

Raising the question, What really matters? is important. Keeping that question alive is important. (137)






On Finding Answers

8517008Look Away

from A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley

I had long ago discovered that when a word or formula refused to come to mind, the best thing for it was to think of something else: tigers, for instance, or oatmeal. Then, when the fugitive word was least expecting it, I would suddenly turn the full blazes of my intention back onto it, catching the culprit in the beam of my mental torch before it could sneak back into darkness.







Walk Away

from Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

Remembering her mentor’s counsel:

When we walk, and when we look out at a view other than the one we are used to every day, we are challenging ourselves to move freely in our work and to look at our conclusions from another perspective. Move the body, Maisie, and you will move the mind.




2967752Read Away

from The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry

When something is bothering me, I seek refuge. No need to travel far; a trip to the realm of literary memory will suffice. For where can one find more noble distinction, more entertaining company, more delightful enchantment than in literature?






For where can one find more noble distinction, more entertaining company, more delightful enchantment than in literature?-2



On Leaping


from Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper

Dear Otto,

We’re all scared, most of the time. Life would be lifeless if we weren’t. Be scared, and then jump into that fear. Again and again. Just remember to hold onto yourself while you do it.

Sincerely, Etta




On Living Well

from A Walk on the Beach: Tales of Wisdom from an Unconventional Woman By Joan Anderson

(about Joan Erikson)




Joan Erikson’s encouragement:


Take actionHave adventuresFace your fearsSeize the momentTolerate isolationOverdose on the sensesLean on your bodyReach beyond your grasp 





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