Hello and happy Wednesday!
Last month, I shared fifty-two other quotes about writing that I found inspiring, helpful, and/or entertaining. You can find that post here.
That quaint endeavor that can take even the most sane person and transform her into a bizarre creature that spends hours in a room by herself, listening to the voices in her head, and memorizing every crack and shade of paint on the wall in front of her.
At any given moment, she may swing from venting about the difficulties of writing and swearing to quit it forever, to gushing about how she figured out her plot twist and that writing is the most important thing anyone can ever do.
I adore it.
Ask me in five minutes and I might tell you something different. But right now, I truly do love it. And sooner or later, I always come right back to loving it.
As one of my favorite TV show characters likes to say, “It’s a gift, and a curse,”1 and I consider myself very blessed to get to use it. It’s just that sometimes, I need some reminders about why I’m writing, and that I’m not alone in all the hair-pulling, energy-draining wonderfulness.
Today, I’m back with fifty-two more (another year’s worth if you read one weekly, haha) quotes about writing, with the hopes that they inspire, motivate, encourage, and entertain – and that they help you stop and think about what writing really is. Just like they do for me.
1. “You can fix anything but a blank page.”
2. “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
3. “Anyone who says writing is easy isn’t doing it right.”
4. “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.”
5. “The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It’s not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.”
6.“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
7. “You fail only if you stop writing.”
8. “A writer is a world trapped in a person.”
9. “For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
(Catherine Drinker Bowen)
10. “Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.”
11.“The task of a writer consists of being able to make something out of an idea.”
12. “A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.”
13. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
14. “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
15. “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
16. “You can make anything by writing.”
17. “Find your best time of the day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess.”
18. “To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.”
19. “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.”
20. “The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So 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.”
21.“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”
(C. S. Lewis)
22. “If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.”
23. “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”
24.“My aim in constructing sentences is to make the sentence utterly easy to understand, writing what I call transparent prose. I’ve failed dreadfully if you have to read a sentence twice to figure out what I meant.”
25. “Good fiction’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
(David Foster Wallace)
26. “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
27. “All stories have to at least try to explain some small portion of the meaning of life.”
28.“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.”
29. “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
(E. L. Doctorow)
30. “Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing.”
31. “A writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.”
32. “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”
33. “Writing is often the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about.”
34. “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”
35. “Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.”
36. “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”
37. “Hard writing makes easy reading. Easy writing makes hard reading.”
38. “Words are containers for power, you choose what kind of power they carry.”
39. “To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.”
40. “The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.”
41. “A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.”
42. “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
43. “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.”
44. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
45. “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”
46. “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.”
47. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
48. “If you write what you yourself sincerely think and feel and are interested in, the chances are very high that you will interest other people as well.”
49. “In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.”
50. “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
51. “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
52. “I want to write so well that a person is thirty or forty pages in a book of mine…before she realizes she’s reading.”
As I said last month, reading and writing are truly huge gifts. We’re very blessed to have the opportunity to use them – either while reading stories that move and touch us in many ways, or by writing stories that hopefully do the same. I’m very grateful for the chance to do both.
Did you relate to any of these quotes today? Were any of them especially helpful or inspiring – or just plain amusing? Go ahead and let me know YOUR favorites in the comments, as well as if there is a certain topic you’d like to see more quotes about. While you’re there, I’d love to hear any writing quotes you have to share!
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
(Psalm 86:12 NIV)
1.The character I referred to is Adrian Monk, from the older detective show, Monk.
2. I shared more of my quote collection in many previous posts, which you can find here.
3. To receive your own printable pages of the above quotes (and the ones used in my other ‘Quotes’ posts), sign up for my email list! Simply fill in the form here, and I’ll send you PDF copies of the quote collections – as well as an inspirational short story. I look forward to hearing from you!