Archive for Writing

Writing Quotes

Quotes about Writing.


  • After being Turned Down by numerous Publishers, he had decided to write for Posterity.
    o George Ade, “Fables in Slang”, 1899

  • The tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer. I should say winter had given the bone and sinew to literature, summer the tissues and the blood.
    o John Burroughs, The Snow-Walkers

  • Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no such demand upon those who wrote them.
    o Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, 1820

  • Please write again soon. Though my own life is filled with activity, letters encourage momentary escape into others lives and I come back to my own with greater contentment.
    o Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, ‘A Woman of Independent Means’

  • You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.
    o Neil Gaiman. Where do you get your ideas? Essay. (1997).

  • Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
    o Neil Gaiman. somewhat less sinister ducks Blog entry. (23 April 2004).

  • Well personally I like bad writing. I know this because no matter what I like, someone tells me that [it’s] badly written. I like bad acting too.
    o David Johnston, Usenet article (2006)

  • You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair–the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.
    o Stephen King “On Writing” 2000

  • I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
    o Blaise Pascal, “Lettres provinciales”, letter 16, 1657

  • Thus, in a real sense, I am constantly writing autobiography, but I have to turn it into fiction in order to give it credibility.
    o Katherine Paterson, The Spying Heart, 1989

  • Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent
    o James Baldwin “Autobiographical Notes” (1952); republished in Notes of a Native Son (1955)

  • I am a galley slave to pen and ink.
    o Honore de Balzac letter to Madame Zulma Carraud, 2 July 1832

  • The free-lance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.
    o Robert Benchley, quoted by James Thurber in The Bermudian (November 1950).

  • 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.
    o Robert Benchley, quoted in Nathaniel Benchley Robert Benchley, ch. 1 (1955).

  • When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
    o Enrique Jardiel Poncela (Guillemets, Terri. The Quote Garden. Retrieved on 2003-01-07.)


  • Learn as much by writing as by reading.
    o Lord Acton

  • But it takes an awful long time to not write a book!
    o Douglas Adams

  • Science fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are written for ghosts.
    o Brian Aldiss

  • 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.
    o Isaac Asimov

  • Great literature must spring from an upheaval in the author’s soul. If that upheaval is not present then it must come from the works of any other author which happens to be handy and easily adapted.
    o Robert Benchley

  • Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long.
    o Leonard Bernstein

  • About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment.
    o Josh Billings

  • I take the view, and always have, that if you cannot say what you are going to say in twenty minutes you ought to go away and write a book about it.
    o Lord Brabazon

  • That so many writers have been prepared to accept a kind of martyrdom is the best tribute that flesh can pay to the living spirit of man as expressed in his literature. One cannot doubt that the martyrdom will continue to be gladly embraced. To some of us, the wresting of beauty out of language is the only thing in the world that matters.
    o Anthony Burgess

  • No one ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have tried while trying to write one.
    o Robert Byrne

  • I’ve only written a tenth of what I know– and they’re already screaming.
    o Albert Camus

  • It is not a bad idea to get in the habit of writing down one’s thoughts. It saves one having to bother anyone else with them.
    o Isabel Colegate

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

  • The cure for writer’s cramp is writer’s block.
    o Inigo DeLeon

  • I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
    o Joan Didion

  • The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.
    o Benjamin Disraeli

  • Learn to write well, or not to write at all.
    o John Dryden

  • Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.
    o T. S. Eliot

  • All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
    o F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Getting even is one reason for writing.
    o William Gass

  • I write because I hate. A lot. Hard.
    o William Gass

  • The natural state of all writing is mediocrity.
    o Ira Glass

  • If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
    o Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • The first draft of anything is always shit.
    o Ernest Hemingway

  • The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.
    o John Irving

  • Writing is as much a work in progress as the writing itself.
    o Alexander Keyes

  • All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.
    o Bobby Knight

  • Writing is no trouble, you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity enough – it is the occurring which is difficult.
    o Stephen Leacock

  • Your life story would not make a good book. Don’t even try.
    o Fran Lebowitz

  • Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.
    o Norman Mailer

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

  • Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.
    o Daphne du Maurier

  • If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.
    o Wilson Mizner

  • An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.
    o Charles de Montesquieu

  • You ask me why I do not write something….I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.
    o Florence Nightingale, in Cecil Woodham-Smith, 1951

  • When a man is tired of pens, he is tired of life.
    o Stephen Overbury

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

  • Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
    o Alexander Pope

  • Don’t write until you’re 25. Don’t write for the high school yearbook. Don’t write for the college literary magazine. Don’t write for any of that stuff; you never had any experiences, you don’t know anything. Just shut up.
    o Joe Queenan

  • Writers are made, not born.
    o Ayn Rand

  • Beneath the rule of men entirely great, The pen is mightier than the sword.
    o Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Richelieu

  • And lo, though I travel through the valley of the archetypes, I shall fear no evil, for I know that the author can’t kill me off for at least another 150 pages, no matter how stupid or trite I become, or he ruins the book.
    o Chuq Von Rospach, 1992

  • The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.
    o Leo Rosten

  • Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.
    o John Ruskin

  • The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.
    o Edwin Schlossberg

  • Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.
    o Rod Serling

  • Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.
    o Jesse Stuart

  • Writing is easy – until you become a professional.
    o Leonid S. Sukhorukov

  • How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
    o Henry David Thoreau

  • The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!
    o Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes


  • Words are like eye glasses, blurring everything that they do not make clear.
    o Unknown

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