The Saturday Writing Quote — Ayn Rand on confidence

“When you write, be as conceited as you can be — ‘conceit’ is not the right word, but I want to overstate the point. You must have total self-esteem. Leave your self-doubts behind when you sit down to write — and pick them up again, if you wish, during the process of editing. Sometimes your writing will give you reason to feel some self-doubt afterward . . . . But while you are writing, . . . [r]egard yourself as an absolute, sovereign consciousness. Forget that man is fallible and that you might make mistakes. That is true, but it is for the next day, when you edit.”

Ayn Rand, The Art of Nonfiction 59-60 (1969; Robert Mayhew ed., 2001) (quoted in the blog Garner’s Daily Usage, by Bryan Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage)

The Saturday Writing Quote — flow

“The process of composition should, if possible, have some rush of excitement about it — not remain too slow, cold, calculated, and self-critical. For this is not only chilling; it may lead the more conscious side of the mind to cramping interference. In tennis, to play with gritted teeth and tense concentration may merely stiffen the muscles: once the necessary reflexes have been formed by practice, it may work far better to use one’s head to think where to put the ball, but leave it to one’s body how to put it there.”

F.L. Lucas, Style 254-55 (1955; repr. 1962) (quoted in Garner’s Daily Usage blog, by Bryan Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage)

Garner on terminology

GarnerGarner’s Modern American Usage is a reference you should all have.

“Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day

judge; justice.

In American English, as a general rule, judges sitting on the highest appellate level of a jurisdiction are known as “justices.” Trial judges and appellate judges on intermediate levels are generally called “judges,” not “justices.”

New York and Texas depart from these rules of thumb. In New York, “justices” sit on the trial court of general jurisdiction (called the Supreme Court, oddly), whereas “judges” sit on the appellate courts. In Texas, “justices” sit on the courts of appeals (between the trial court and the Supreme Court — the latter being the highest civil court, which is also composed of “justices”); “judges” sit on trial courts and on the Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest criminal court.

H.W. Horwill wrote that “‘judge’ carries with it in America by no means such dignified associations as it possesses in Eng. It may mean [in American English] no more than a magistrate of a police court.” Modern American Usage 180 (2d ed. 1944). “Justice” may also denote, in American and British English alike, a low-ranking judge or inferior magistrate, as in the phrases “justice of the peace” and “police justice.””