Nietzsche on writing

Of the ten rules concerning the art of writing, as explicated by Nietzsche in his letters to Andreas-Salomé, there is one which I recall very vividly, and which has always stood like a sentinel on the margins of my mind:

First, (before beginning to write), one must determine precisely “what-and-what do I wish to say and present,” before you may write. Writing must be mimicry.

Alas, I have not yet determined what I wish say about this particular rule, and yet so hastily have I taken up the pen. Eagerly, I wrote the first sentence, which is the easiest, for it is only a matter of style. But the substance, it is all missing. I’m trying to think, but I’m too tired. It was a mistake to have begun writing at all. There you go, the rule has proven itself.


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