F Scott Fitzgerald. Letter of advice on writing, 1936.
F Scott Fitzgerald is one of America’s most enduring and elegant authors also known for his “jazz age” social life and his friendships with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Edmund Wilson. He was a talented, perceptive, insightful and stylistically brilliant writer whose legacy includes; The Great Gatsby, Tender Is the Night; and a collection of stories and essays that captured the American experience. These word are from a letter to his then 15-year old daughter, penned in 1936, as she embarked on her High School eduction.
if you want to get into the big time, you have to have your own fences to jump and learn from experience. Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one. If you have anything to say, anything you feel nobody has ever said before, you have got to feel it so desperately that you will find some way to say it that nobody has ever found before, so that the thing you have to say and the way of saying it blend as one matter—as indissolubly as if they were conceived together.
Let me preach again for one moment: I mean that what you have felt and thought will by itself invent a new style so that when people talk about style they are always a little astonished at the newness of it, because they think that is only style that they are talking about, when what they are talking about is the attempt to express a new idea with such force that it will have the originality of the thought.
Nothing any good isn’t hard
Image attribution: Photo of F. Scott Fitzgerald in the third-floor bedroom of his parents’ home in St Paul Minnesota where he wrote This Side of Paradise from the Sight Unseen exhibition, George Latimer Library, St. Paul (2017). Sourced from twincities.com. Used uner Fair Dealing terms (AU). Words gleaned from: F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters: A New Collection Edited and Annotated by Matthew J. Bruccoli (1995)