Monday, September 23, 2013

Words of Wisdom from Robert Frost

photo courtesy of

"Talking is a hydrant in the yard and writing is a faucet upstairs in the house. Opening the first takes the pressure off the second." --Robert Frost

I came across this quote the other day, and it gave me pause. One of America's best loved poets, Robert Frost expressed in a colorful metaphor a concept I've found to be so true--if I talk too much about a writing project before getting it down on paper, the idea seems to lose power--and drizzle to a drip. Ah, what else, dear Robert, could you teach me (besides something about being a better poet??). Let's see...

"I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew.Writing a poem is discovering."

"Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down."

"The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to the office." (Boy, isn't that the truth?)

"Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense."

"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words."

"Pressed into service means pressed out of shape."

"The best way out is always through."

Just some food for thought as we continue on this week. Any of Robert's thoughts jump out at you? Do you find that your writing ideas lose their punch when you talk about them too soon?


  1. I love, "Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words."

    As for talking about a WIP; sometimes, yes, it does dilute the urge to write, but sometimes it actually pressures me to get on with it. It seems to vary with me.

  2. They're all great, but the one about the ending sticks out most to me. Probably because I start a story with most of it plotted (but not the end), but I'm always surprised along the way, especially by the ending. Discovering is exciting.

  3. Third to last. I seldom talk to people about my writing. I know I am bored when others go on about theirs, so I spare them. Unless it is a critique group setting. That is different.

  4. Elizabeth, it's good to know that talking about an idea doesn't always take the steam out, but can push a writer forward instead. Maybe it depends on who you share with? Thanks for sharing :-)

    Barbara, discovering is exciting! That's one of the reasons I like to write. You never really know what's going to happen until you start writing through it. Appreciate your thoughts on the subject...

    Cathy, I like the one about emotion-to-thought, thought-to-words, too. It's a neat description of poetry, that's for sure. And I'm with you--it's hard to talk to some people about my writing. Seems like it takes a certain mind to understand us writers, and not everyone does! Have a great day--thanks for stopping by :-)

  5. Yes, I do find that it sort of sags and loses what excited me about it in the first place.

  6. Thanks, Catherine. Appreciate you weighing in on the subject :-)

  7. I love talking about writing in general, but I don't talk much about whatever I'm working on. The exception is my husband, who always ends up with my questions - e.g., "What does a turbocharger do on a car?" He always seems to have an answer.

  8. Oh, I love it. I didn't realize Frost had such a sense of humor. Love 'the brain is an organ'..... Had to laugh.

  9. Thanks for the quotes! I have a three-volume biography of Robert Frost. I've been meaning to finish it~ this was a good reminder :)

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  11. Thanks, supermom--glad to see your smiling face :-)