Who doesn’t love quotes?
A good quote can uplift you. It can encourage you when you feel like giving up. It can inspire you to punch those damn keys. A good quote can even become your blog’s motto.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of quotes about writing. So you feel inspired and motivated to punch those damn keys.
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”Isaac Asimov
This one was actually my first blog’s motto for a few years. I love this quote because it has this sort-of Bukowski, “Find what you love and let it kill you” sort of vibe. Find something you love and live and die for it.
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; (and) 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
I love this one because it reminds us that we should write about the things that keep us up at night. And we should be relentless when writing our truth, no matter what.
“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”Ray Bradbury
Write a lot and read a lot are the most common tips that you’d find, and they are so common because they work. In order to create content, you must consume content. And in order to create content… well… you must create content.
“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
Self-doubt is the biggest enemy of the creative individual. Once the inner critic is free to whisper in your ear, nothing you produce is good enough. Doomsday scenario after doomsday scenario unfold before your eyes. You soon give up.
The truth is that we need guts. We need the courage to write our truth, even if our fingers shake against the keyboard. We need to write about the things that matter to us, no matter what.
“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”Samuel Johnson
If you don’t suffer and bleed a little for the words you share with others, they are not going to care.
Readers care when they know how much you care about your own stories and ideas.
“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.”Terry Pratchett
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
— Natalie Goldberg
There’s one fun writing exercise that I always recommend: rummage through your soul for what hurts, and then write about that.
Writing about the things that keep us up at night, being vulnerable like that, requires a lot of courage, but it’s well worth it.
If you don’t write about the things you care most for, why write at all?
“You may not always write well, but you can edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”Jodi Picoult
The first step is writing that first draft. The first step is to have some words that you can work with.
“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”Robert Benchley
This one’s just funny.
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”Virginia Woolf
A friend of mine once told me that when we read the words of those we know best, it feels as if we never knew them at all. The opposite happens when we read the words of a perfect stranger; it feels like we know them, and we get this terrible itch that we’d like us to be friends.
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”Robert Frost
Okay, I’ll admit. Some of my best articles are the ones I kind of cried when writing them. Just a bit. It doesn’t matter.
“The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.”E.B. White
Clarity in writing is an essential element to being able to share words that matter with your audience.
“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”George Orwell
Don’t write to impress. Write to express.
“Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.”Oscar Wilde
This one reminds me of something Churchill must have said, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”Somerset Maugham
We often allow the rules of other writers become boxes we cannot escape. Don’t place your creativity and authenticity in a box it doesn’t fit in.
The rules don’t matter. What matters most is that you do your best. Any rule can be bent, broken even, if it allows you to share the stories that matter in a way that best suits you.
“I write to discover what I know.”Flannery O’Connor
Writing is like drawing a map of your soul. We often don’t know who we are until we write about it at least a couple of times.
“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”Gene Fowler
Sit at that desk and punch the damn keys until your hands hurt. Then write some more.
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”Larry L. King
There are no shortcuts. There’s only the work that needs to be done.
“Good writing is rewriting.”Truman Capote
No one, I mean absolutely no one, writes a brilliant first draft. No one. I repeat. No one.
“Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.”Lev Grossman
Writing advice is easy to give. Look at me sharing a bunch of quotes from a bunch of famous people, and that’s advice.
Well, some of it, maybe most of it, won’t work for you. Writing isn’t an exact science. It’s an art. And there are no rules in art and love and war.
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”Thomas Jefferson
Brevity in writing is one of the most difficult skills to master. It’s not how many words you write, but how many of them mean something and how many don’t.
“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
People complain about having trouble coming up with ideas. There are ideas everywhere, as long as you are willing to spend some time looking for them.
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”Louis L’Amour
Don’t wait around for inspiration. Sit at your desk and punch the damn keys. And the muse will knock on your door soon enough.
“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”William Faulkner
We write about our experiences, or write about the life we observe, or we write about the life we wish we had lived. That’s about it.
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”Ernest Hemingway
When asked how he writes so fast, Stephen King usually replies, “One word at a time.”
You can only write one word at a time. Make sure the sentence you are writing is true, is yours, and that’s about it. Odds are that by the time you finish writing that sentence into existence, a new one will begin to take shape in your mind.
“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”Barbara Kingsolver
Most writers write because they want to say something, anything, not because they have something to say.
What do you have to add to the conversation we’ve been having since we were living in caves? What can you add to the work of your predecessors? What experiences can you share with us?
Writing is easy. It’s us writers who often make it seem like such a terrifying experience.
It’s not. You just sit down at your desk and punch the damn keys.