Oscar-winning writer-director-actor George Clooney (born in 1961) has given us some pretty fantastic entertainment in the last twenty-five years, and here are three fantastic quotes of his that will give you a jolt of inspiration!
1. My biggest fear is doing the same things 10 years from now. That would be a failure. It’s something you have to constantly reassess, and asking yourself what you are going to do next makes it a good, long full journey.
As you grow as a writer throughout the years, you want to constantly be challenging yourself, constantly be going in new directions and exploring different kinds of stories and characters, or otherwise, what’s the point? I’ve written twenty novels in almost ten years. I’ve tried a lot of different kinds of stories, that’s for sure. But most of all, what pleases me the most about my work as of late is that it’s so much different than the kind of work I was doing a decade ago. To just keep doing the same thing over and over I feel is death to a writer.
Now, sure, if you’re super successful in one genre, then it might be in your best interest to be writing similar kinds of things for years, maybe decades, like so many of the most popular authors out there do. But I still think it’s necessary to keep challenging yourself and keep finding new things to say, even if it happens to be in that same genre you were writing in ten years ago. I’ve been writing suspense books pretty much since the beginning, but the depth and complexity to my characters and stories have certainly grown, and I’ve explored subject matter I’m not sure I would have been ready for a decade ago because the talent wasn’t there and the patience certainly wasn’t there. Try whenever possible not to do the same old thing. Give yourself permission to attempt something new.
2. As time goes on and you become more comfortable in your career path, and things are starting to make sense, and it’s not just about work, you find that you’re able to focus on other things and other people.
Something that’s really hard for I think any devoted writer to hear is that sometimes you really do need to step away from the desk and live your life a little. Sometimes it’s necessary to focus on other things and other people for awhile and not just yourself. I’ve had some successes here and there in my writing life in the past decade, but I still haven’t reached a point where I’m necessarily comfortable in my career path, and so I find myself working extra hard every day to produce more content, do better work, find ways to improve on my latest novel or short story. A day at my writing desk where I don’t have any other obligations is always a great one.
At the same time though, you have to remember that something that ultimately enriches your writing is taking those breaks and spending time with others. Your writing will actually improve in the long run if you stop focusing on yourself so much and devote some of your time to other things and other people. It’s not a waste of time, by any means, to not write for an afternoon. It’s not a waste of time to put your laptop away for a day or a weekend and go on an amazing adventure with friends or family. Remember, even when you’re not writing, you’re doing the work that needs to be done to create great writing later.
3. Failures are infinitely more instructive than successes, and the only failure… is not to try.
I’ve had a lot of failures in my writing life. Blogs that went nowhere. Short stories that never sold. Novels I spent years on that didn’t ever get published or receive a single request from a literary agent after months and months of querying. The failures hurt every single time, but Clooney is right in that they are always instructive, too. I definitely learn from my failures. And each year I get better at my craft and better understand the publishing industry. I’m still not at a place where I consider myself in any way a success, but I’m getting there, slowly, and the work I’ve been creating the past two or three years is finally showing that I hope.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the only way to truly fail as a writer is to quit, or to not try at all. You might be scared the writing isn’t strong enough. You might be scared your work will be rejected. That kind of fear is so insanely unhelpful because in the beginning your writing probably won’t be strong enough, and your work probably will be rejected. But it doesn’t matter. Very few writers are brilliant and lucky in their career right away. Sometimes it takes a few months, a few years. I’ve been at this almost every day since 2010, I’ve written twenty novels, and I still don’t have a traditionally published book in the world. But I get up every day, I sit down at my writing desk, and I keep trying. If you want to be a successful writer one day, you should do the same!