Friday, October 19, 2018

Quotes About Writing

A long time ago, I collected quotes.  I keep them in a spreadsheet, indexed with keywords.  Yes, I am a geek.  Anyway, I thought today would be a good day to visit the quotes I have about writing.  I hope you find something in this rather long list to inspire you...

"Writers must fortify themselves with pride and egotism as best they can. The process is analogous to using sandbags and loose timbers to protect a house against flood. Writers are vulnerable creatures like anyone else. For what do they have in reality? Not sandbags, not timbers. Just a flimsy reputation and a name." - Brian Aldiss

"I think the first duty of all art, including fiction of any kind, is to entertain. That is to say, to hold interest. No matter how worthy the message of something, if it's dull, you're just not communicating." - Poul Anderson

"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist." - Isaac Asimov

"Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed." - Ray Bradbury

"Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer." - Ray Bradbury

"Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for." - Ray Bradbury

"With this book, I’m going to outrun the self-doubt. If I can’t? I’ll spear the monster dead." - Allison Brennan

"Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any." - Orson Scott Card

"The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them." - Raymond Chandler

"It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly." - CJ Cherryh

"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes." - Agatha Christie

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." - Cyril Connolly

"After rejection—misery, then thoughts of revenge, and finally, oh well, another try elsewhere." - Mason Cooley

"Books aren't written, they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it…" - Michael Crichton

"There is no mistaking the dismay on the face of a writer who has just heard that his brain child is a deformed idiot." - L. Sprague de Camp

"This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it." - Eeyore

"I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within." - Gustave Flaubert

"Modern poets talk against business, poor things, but all of us write for money. Beginners are subjected to trial by market." - Robert Frost

"Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." - Neil Gaiman

"Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing." - Melinda Haynes

"Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up." Ernest Hemingway

"If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow." - Louis L'Amour

"It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write." - Sinclair Lewis

"A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. " Thomas Mann

"I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter." - James Michener

"The reader has certain rights. He bought your story. Think of this as an implicit contract. He's entitled to be entertained, instructed, amused; maybe all three. If he quits in the middle, or puts the book down feeling his time has been wasted, you're in violation." - Larry Niven

"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance." - Alexander Pope

"There's no such thing as writer's block. That was invented by people in California who couldn't write." - Terry Pratchett

"Most writers enjoy two periods of happiness—when a glorious idea comes to mind and, secondly, when a last page has been written and you haven’t had time to know how much better it ought to be." - JB Priestley

"The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business." - John Steinbeck

"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning." - Mark Twain

"The hope and aim of a word-handler is that he may communicate a thought or an impression to his reader without the reader’s realizing that he has been dragged through a series of hazardous or grotesque syntactical situations. " - EB White

"You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist, you are learning your craft -- then you can add all the genius you like." - Phyllis Whitney

"If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it." - Tennessee Williams

Got any good writing quotes to add?


  1. Ooooh! I particularly like this one: "With this book, I’m going to outrun the self-doubt. If I can’t? I’ll spear the monster dead." - Allison Brennan

    I'm not organized enough to keep a list for myself, so I really enjoyed yours. :-D

    1. I snagged that one from a blog post she did years ago. Definitely worth keeping.

      Organized? I like that. It's better than obsessive. ;o) Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I so <3 so many of those! Okay, a few of my own collection:

    Goals are dreams with a deadline. - Napoleon Hill

    The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words. - William H. Gass

    Writers aren't exactly people... They're a whole bunch of poeple trying to be one person. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Writing is showbusiness for shy people. That's how I see it. -Lee Child

    Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon. - Ann Patchett

    Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little. - Holley Gerth

    "You sit down. You tell a story. You do it any damn way it comes out consistently for you. You hope people like it. You hope people pay you for it. You do it again. And again. That's all I got. Zen and the Art of Writer Maintenance. You can cheer me on and I can cheer you on, but in the end? In the end it's down to how you get your getting done, done.

    So get it done." -Laura Anne Gilman

    And one final one that makes me laugh every time I read it...

    Being an author is like being a warrior in Valhalla. We wake up every day, get our asses kicked, and then drink ourselves to sleep. - JC Boyd

    1. Ooo, awesome quotes, Silver! More for the spreadsheet. Thanks!