I’m an absolute sucker for a good motivational quote. When I began managing teams, I had a board installed by the door at the front so that anyone entering would see whatever uplifting offering I’d added that morning before they had got in. The person who I used most often was Henry Ford, and I grew to love the man for his wisdom.
Much of what he said is valid to writing, so I have compiled a short list of relevant quotes from the extremely quotable Henry Ford.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
I began sending my first novel to literary agents far too early, I foolishly ignored the oft-repeated guidance to edit, edit, and edit again. My eagerness overcame me and I sent it out to anywhere I could find to send it. I won’t that mistake again. That is one of many learnings to be applied to my second novel. I don’t feel negative about it not succeeding, I feel positive that I have learned more than any course could have taught me.
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”
Writers write. You can’t talk about what you will do if you do not press on with the endeavour of actually doing it. Actions speak louder than words, Henry Ford might not have said that, but it is still true. Or perhaps more relevant, show, don’t tell!
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
Anything worthwhile is going to consist of challenges. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.
“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”
Writing is a lonely business so you have to self-police to succeed. Nobody is going to be over your shoulder to make sure you have finished that scene, or have depth in that character. It’s all on you.
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
This is one of my favourites. Believe, believe, believe. If you don’t, nobody else will.
“If I had asked them what they had wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”
This one is about vision. People don’t always know what they want, if you have an idea that is perhaps against the grain, don’t give up because it is apparently not what agents are looking for. Ultimately agents are looking for something that will sell, so don’t be afraid to be different.
“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.”
Sometimes, amendments based on feedback can be more elongated that you would like. Don’t try and sledgehammer fixes in, take the appropriate time to solve the underlying issue, not just tick the box to say it is addressed.
There are countless other quotes from Henry Ford that can be applied to writing and indeed to most other aspects of life. Do you find inspirational quotes helpful or interesting? Who do you think provided the most useful array of such quotes?