Recently I reread the A.G. Sertillanges’s classic work on the life of the mind: The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods. Sertillanges (1863-1948) was a Catholic writer and a member of the Dominican Order. He published The Intellectual Life in 1934. Read the entire series here.
p.199: You must write throughout the whole of your intellectual life
p.201: I have said that the art of writing requires lone and early application and that this gradually becomes a mental habit and constitutes what is called style.
p.208: Strive to write in the form that is inevitable, given the precise thought or the exact feeling that you have to express. Aim at being understood by all…
p.209: …all creative work requires detachment. Our obsessing personality must be put aside, the world must be forgotten. When one is thinking of truth, can one allow one’s attention to be turned from it by self.
p.213: We must not allow ourselves to be influenced by fear of what people will say; we must beware of yielding to the pressure of a spirit of cowardly conformity which proclaims itself everybody’s friend in the hope that everybody will obligingly return the compliment.
p.214-15: Seated at your writing table and in the solitude in which God speaks to the heart, you should listen as a child listens and write as a child speaks.
p.219: Sometimes it is good to stop for a while, when one does not see the right succession of ideals and is exposed to the grave danger of making artificial transitions.
p. 220: But you most normal stimulant is courage. Courage is sustained, not only be prayer, but by calling up anew a vision of the goal….Keep you eyes on its completion and that vision will give you fresh courage.
p.220: You must not yield to the first sense of fatigue; you must push on; you must force the inner energy to reveal itself.
p.228: You who have a sacred call, make up your mind to be faithful. There is a law within you, let it be obeyed. You have said: “I will do this.”