Quotable: Richard Rhodes on writing

“If you’re afraid you can’t write, the answer is to write. Every sentence you construct adds weight to the balance pan. If you’re afraid of what other people will think of your efforts, don’t show them until you write your way beyond your fear. If writing a book is impossible, write a chapter. If writing a chapter is impossible, write a page. If writing a page is impossible, write a paragraph. If writing a paragraph is impossible, write a sentence. If writing even a sentence is impossible, write a word and teach yourself everything there is to know about that word and then write another, connected word and see where their connection leads.”

–Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb

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3 Responses to Quotable: Richard Rhodes on writing

  1. Omar says:

    A very inspiring quote. It shows that writing is an acquired skill like any other profession that requires practice and dedication. It also speaks volumes about the author who, like all good writers, must have struggled at first to properly articulate his thoughts and visions or witnessed someone else struggle, and was able to analyse and dissect the effort made and the steps that were taken to achieve that objective. Great stuff!

  2. Yes, that rings true. Rhodes had to struggle a lot in life, since his father had only a third-grade education, his mother died a suicide, and his stepmother mistreated him and his brother. His brother saved their lives by reporting the situation to the authorities; the two grew up in an institution for orphaned and impoverished boys. It enabled them to graduate high school, and the results speak for themselves. Rhodes went to Yale, and his many awards demonstrate that his struggles were not in vain. The subject of his most famous book was really daunting, too, since he had to unravel several different strands of human interaction to get at how the A-bomb was made. It’s a fantastic book, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

  3. Omar says:

    I’ll get the book. Thanks for the recommendation!

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