Writing Inspiration

History is the art of making an argument about the past by telling a story accountable to evidence. In the writing of history, a story without an argument fades into antiquarianism; an argument without a story risks pedantry. Writing history requires empathy, inquiry, and debate. It requires forswearing condescension, cant, and nostalgia. The past isn’t quaint. Much of it, in fact, is bleak. -- Jill Lepore

Writing history is like drinking an ocean and pissing a cupful. -- Gustave Flaubert

By writing history, we can widen readers' thinking and deepen their sympathies in every direction. Perhaps history should show us not how to control the world, but how to enlarge, deepen, and discipline ourselves. -- Gretel Ehrlich

Today’s events are tomorrow’s history, yet events seen by the naked eye lack the depth and breadth of human struggles, triumphs and suffering. Writing history is writing the soul of the past… so that the present generation may learn from past mistakes, be inspired by their ancestor’s sacrifices, and take responsibility for the future. -- Epifanio de los Santos

Good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are.... We have so much we want to say and figure out. -- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, 3.

The act of writing turns out to be its own reward. Ibid., xxvi.

I'm not sure I ever think the writing is going well. Every day I reread what I wrote the day before, and I've learned from hard experience that it's a real mistake to get too confident about what I've written. . . I'd rewrite the finished book if I could." -- Robert Caro (Working, 200).