How’s the writing?
Kind of slow at the moment?
I’m guessing you’d be writing now if you had everything you needed.
Instead, you find yourself clicking and scrolling, hoping to stumble upon some essential ingredient, some elusive spark you crave as a creative person.
You need a few breakthrough ideas.
Perhaps, you could use a little coaxing.
Maybe, like so many, you’re struggling to find support in this solitary venture.
I feel you.
Maybe, and this one strikes fear into your heart, you’re just not sure how or where to begin?
You’ve likely heard the following quote:
“If it were easy, everyone would do it.”
This quote speaks to the essence of creative writing, to the reason you’re feeling stuck.
Writing is hard work, and sometimes, no matter what you try, you can’t find the flow.
The good news?
You’re in the right place.
Instead of being hard on yourself, instead of forcing yourself through another hour of writer’s-block torture, you need a little break from the pressures of your work in progress.
And you need to know you’re in good company…
- to find the right words,
- to find the right story,
- to keep pushing forward when it feels impossible,
- to find and sustain inspiration.
But somehow—and this is important—they find their way to the finish line through drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. They never give up on their goals.
And you shouldn’t either.
You need a little boost, a way to reconnect with your passion, a way to rekindle your relationship with writing.
You’ve tried everything: sorting through popular writing advice as well as the not-so-popular writing advice. No doubt, you’ve read some terrible writing advice.
So, how’d you like to sample some of the good stuff?
How about some time-tested writing tips from Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, and Toni Morrison?
To celebrate the power of writing, to acknowledge the struggles of writers everywhere, and to provide you with the motivation to continue your writing journey, enjoy this collection of 104 writing quotes from famous authors and creative thinkers.
Allow their wisdom to inspire your next poem, memoir, song lyric, fiction or nonfiction project.
Without further ado, let’s go to the quotes!
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ~ Douglas Adams
“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” ~ Albert Camus
“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” ~ Aldous Huxley
“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.” ~ Anais Nin
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ~ Anais Nin
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.” ~ Anne Lamott
“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.” ~ Annie Proulx
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov
“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.” ~ Beatrix Potter
“It is a writer’s greatest pleasure to hear that someone was kept up until the unholy hours of the morning reading one of his books.” ~ Brandon Sanderson
“Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.” ~ Carl Sagan
“A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.” ~ Caroline Gordon
“We live and breathe words. …. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone.” ~ Cassandra Clare
“Always be a poet, even in prose.” ~ Charles Baudelaire
“Great writers are indecent people. They live unfairly, saving the best part for paper. Good human beings save the world, so that bastards like me can keep creating art.” ~ Charles Bukowski
” Some moments are nice. Some are nicer. Some are even worth writing about.” ~ Charles Bukowski
“Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.” ~ Christopher Hitchens
“Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?” ~ Cornelia Funke
“So what? All writers are lunatics!” ~ Cornelia Funke
“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot.” ~ David Levithan
“I hate writing, I love having written.” ~ Dorothy Parker
“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” ~ E. L. Doctorow
“The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
“You know, it’s hard work to write a book. I can’t tell you how many times I really get going on an idea, then my quill breaks. Or I spill ink all over my writing tunic.” ~ Ellen Degeneres
“The first draft of anything is shit.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Everywhere I go, I am asked if I think university stifles writers. My opinion is that it doesn’t stifle enough of them.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” ~ Frank Herbert
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~ Franz Kafka
“A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” ~ Franz Kafka
“All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero, but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
“Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” ~ George Orwell
“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” ~ Harvey Pekar
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
“Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.” ~ Howard Nemerov
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” ~ Isaac Asimov
“Write what should not be forgotten.” ~ Isabel Allende
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ~ Jack Kerouac
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ~ Jack London
“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ~ James Michener
“Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos… to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream.” ~ John Cheever
“Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.” ~ John Green
“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” ~ John Steinbeck
“People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don’t like people.” ~ Joss Whedon
“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.” ~ Joss Whedon
“You always get more respect when you don’t have a happy ending.” ~ Julia Quinn
“If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.” ~ Kingsley Amis
“Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” ~ Lloyd Alexander
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ~ Louis L’Amour
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” ~ Madeline L’Engle
“A word after a word after a word is power.” ~ Margaret Atwood
“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself.” ~ Margaret Atwood
“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
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” ~ Mark Twain
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou
“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.” ~ Meg Cabot
“One always has a better book in one’s mind than one can manage to get onto paper.” ~ Michael Cunningham
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” ~ Neil Gaiman
“Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.” ~ Neil Gaiman
“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” ~ Neil Gaiman
“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” ~ Neil Gaiman
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ~ Pablo Picasso
“Tears are words that need to be written.” ~ Paul Coelho
“Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.” ~ Philip Jose Farmer
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ~ Philip Pullman
“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads…” ~ Ray Bradbury
“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.” ~ Ray Bradbury
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~ Ray Bradbury
“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” ~ Ray Bradbury
“You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.” ~ Richard Price
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” ~ Robert Frost
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” ~ Saul Bellow
“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ~ Stephen King
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ~ Stephen King
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ~ Stephen King
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” ~ Stephen King
“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.” ~ Stephen King
“A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.” ~ Stephen King
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” ~ Stephen King
“A short story is a different thing altogether – a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.” ~ Stephen King
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away.” ~ Stephen King
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs” ~ Stephen King
“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” ~ Stephen King
“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” ~ Stephen King
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~ Sylvia Plath
“Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences” ~ Sylvia Plath
“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.” ~ Tim O’Brien
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison
“Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.” ~ Toni Morrison
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ~ Virginia Woolf
“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible” ~ Vladimir Nabokov
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ~ W. Somerset Maugham
“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” ~ William Faulkner
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” ~ William Faulkner
“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.” ~ William H. Gass
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~ William Wordsworth
Now, it’s your turn. What’s your favorite quote about writing?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.