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200 Writing Quotes For Writers To Inspire You

Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with symbols. Writing is also an art and a craft that needs to be developed through deliberate practice and study over a long period of time.

Here are 200 writing quotes to guide you through every stage of writing. Many of these quotes come from well known authors who share their best tips, advice, and secrets to learn all about writing. Some of these authors recorded their thoughts on writing in books, some as essays, and some as letters to their friends, lovers, and editors. You are sure to find a lot of great writing advice to be found in these words of wisdom from successful authors!

200 Famous Writing Quotes to Help You During Every Stage of Writing

Top 10 Writing Quotes

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. 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

“I would write a book, or a short story, at least three times — once to understand it, the second time to improve the prose, and a third to compel it to say what it still must say. Somewhere I put it this way: first drafts are for learning what one’s fiction wants him to say. Revision works with that knowledge to enlarge and enhance an idea, to reform it. Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing.” – Bernard Malamud

“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“The best advice on writing was given to me by my first editor, Michael Korda, of Simon and Schuster, while writing my first book. ‘Finish your first draft and then we’ll talk,’ he said. It took me a long time to realize how good the advice was. Even if you write it wrong, write and finish your first draft. Only then, when you have a flawed whole, do you know what you have to fix.” – Dominick Dunne

“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.” – Neil Gaiman

“The secret of good writing is telling the truth.” – Gordon Lish

“The Six Golden Rules of Writing: Read, read, read, and write, write, write.” – Ernest Gaines

“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly: sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.” – Meg Rosoff

See also: Reading Quotes

What Is Writing?

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“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. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” – Stephen King

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” – Gloria Steinem

“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

“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

“Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.” – Robert A. Heinlein

“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.” – Virginia Woolf

“Writing is its own reward.” – Henry Miller

“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.” – William Carlos Williams

Famous Writing Quotes

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“All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.” – Steve Almond

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” – Ernest Hemingway

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” – Winston Churchill

“I’m all for the scissors. I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.” – Truman Capote

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” – Shannon Hale

“It doesn’t matter how many book ideas you have if you can’t finish writing your book.” – Joe Bunting

“It is perfectly okay to write garbage as long as you edit brilliantly.” – C. J. Cherryh

“It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.” – P.D. James

“You just have to go on when it is worst and most helpless — there is only one thing to do with a novel and that is go straight on through to the end of the damn thing.” – Ernest Hemingway

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It’s a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.” – J.K. Rowling

“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

“There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn’t because the book is not there and worth being written — it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and, if you fail to find that form, the story will not tell itself.” – Mark Twain

“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

“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.” – Hermann Hesse

“You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.” – George Singleton

“You don’t actually have to write anything until you’ve thought it out. This is an enormous relief, and you can sit there searching for the point at which the story becomes a toboggan and starts to slide.” – Marie de Nervaud

Short Writing Quotes

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“Write what should not be forgotten.” – Isabel Allende

“Write drunk, edit sober.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” – Ayn Rand

“To defend what you’ve written is a sign that you are alive.” – William Zinsser

“The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Tears are words that need to be written.” – Paulo Coelho

“Style means the right word. The rest matters little.” – Jules Renard

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour

“Start before you’re ready.” – Steven Pressfield

“Be willing to write really badly.” – Jennifer Egan

“Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.” – Oscar Wilde

“Anyone who says writing is easy isn’t doing it right.” – Amy Joy

“Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.” – Lev Grossman

“Get through a draft as quickly as possible.” – Joshua Wolf Shenk

“Half my life is an act of revision.” – John Irving

“Good writing is rewriting.” – Truman Capote

“Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic.” – J. K. Rowling

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” – Henry David Thoreau

“I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.” – Patrick Dennis

“I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on until I am.” – Jane Austen

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“I write to discover what I know.” – Flannery O’Connor

“That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” – Octavia E. Butler

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” – Margaret Atwood

“If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.” – Wally Lamb

“If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success.” – Malcolm X

“The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” – Agatha Christie

“Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.” – Sylvia Plath

“No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.” – Russell Lynes

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac

“The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.” – Joyce Carol Oates

“The first draft of everything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” – Terry Pratchett

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” – Frank Herbert

“To survive, you must tell stories.” – Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before

“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.” – Herman Melville

“Write your first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head.” – Mike Rich

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” – Larry L. King

“You can make anything by writing.” – C.S. Lewis

“You fail only if you stop writing.” – Ray Bradbury

“You can fix anything but a blank page.” – Nora Roberts

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” – Ray Bradbury

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” – Jodi Picoult

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” – Saul Bellow

Writing Quotes For Kids

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“You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.” – Richard Price

“Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear.” – Judy Blume

“I’ve always been into ‘fast-paced, don’t bore ’em, keep it moving along, stick with the story.’ You know: tell a story the way I want to hear a story. I find it more rewarding to write for kids, but I also find it a little easier, because you can just let loose a little bit more in terms of fantasy and stuff.” – James Patterson

“All stories have to at least try to explain some small portion of the meaning of life. You can do that in 20 minutes, and 15 inches. I still remember a piece that the great Barry Bearak did in TheMiami Herald some 30 years ago. It was a nothing story, really: Some high school kid was leading a campaign to ban books he found offensive from the school library. Bearak didn’t even have an interview with the kid, who was ducking him. The story was short, mostly about the issue. But Bearak had a fact that he withheld until the kicker. The fact put the whole story, subtly, in complete perspective. The kicker noted the true, wonderful fact that the kid was not in school that day because “his ulcer was acting up.” Meaning of life, 15 inches.” – Gene Weingarten

“I know what I liked as a child, and I don’t do any book that I, as a child, wouldn’t have liked.” – H. A. Rey

“I’m very lucky to write for children, because I don’t have to deal with popular culture. I can just deal with core fundamental issues: jealousy, love, hatred, sadness, joy, wanting to drive a bus.” – Mo Willems

“In this modern world where activity is stressed almost to the point of mania, quietness as a childhood need is too often overlooked. Yet a child’s need for quietness is the same today as it has always been—it may even be greater—for quietness is an essential part of all awareness. In quiet times and sleepy times a child can dwell in thoughts of his own, and in songs and stories of his own.” – Margaret Wise Brown

“Many adults feel that every children’s book has to teach them something…. My theory is a children’s book… can be just for fun.” – R.L. Stine

“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.” – Madeleine L’Engle

Writing Quotes Funny

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“The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis.” – William Styron

“A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.” – Lorrie Moore

“Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress…” – Nick Hornby

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Editing might be a bloody trade, but knives aren’t the exclusive property of butchers. Surgeons use them too.” – Blake Morrison

“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

“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.” – Esther Freud

“Good fiction’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” – David Foster Wallace

“Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” – Kurt Vonnegut Jr., A Man Without a Country

“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

“I could write an entertaining novel about rejection slips, but I fear it would be overly long.” – Louise Brown

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.” – Roald Dahl

“I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” – Isaac Asimov

“If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, all of us.” – William Faulkner

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” – Isaac Asimov

“If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.” – Somerset Maugham

“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.” – Edgar Rice Burroughs

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” – Robert Benchley

“I’ve found the best way to revise your own work is to pretend that somebody else wrote it and then to rip the living shit out of it.” – Don Roff

“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

“My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.” – Anton Chekhov

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

“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

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain

“The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.” – Zadie Smith

“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

“Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.” – Norman Mailer

“Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.” – Patricia Fuller

Inspirational Writing Quotes

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“A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood

“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

“Beginning a novel is always hard. It feels like going nowhere. I always have to write at least 100 pages that go into the trashcan before it finally begins to work. It’s discouraging, but necessary to write those pages. I try to consider them pages -100 to zero of the novel.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” – Anne Frank

“I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.” – Peter De Vries

“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent, he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” – Harper Lee

“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

“I’m very lucky in that I don’t understand the world yet. If I understood the world, it would be harder for me to write these books.” – Mo Willems

“Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.” – Jim Tully

“Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.” – Leigh Brackett

“Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.” – Sylvia Plath

“The miraculous connection between writing and the immune system results from cracking through inhibition. It seems that when we don’t speak the truth of our experience, we inhibit our emotions, and that inhibits our immune function. Keeping secrets and maintaining denial require physical energy, energy our bodies could use in healthier ways were it available.” – Peggy Tabor Millin

“When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.” – Margaret Laurence

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” – Aldous Huxley

Motivational Writing Quotes

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“Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.” – John Steinbeck

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. 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

“I try to write a certain amount each day, five days a week. A rule sometimes broken is better than no rule.” – Herman Wouk

“I used to save all my rejection slips because I told myself, one day I’m going to autograph these and auction them. And then I lost the box.” – James Lee Burke

“I’m out there to clean the plate. Once they’ve read what I’ve written on a subject, I want them to think, ‘That’s it!’ I think the highest aspiration people in our trade can have is that once they’ve written a story, nobody will ever try it again.” – Richard Ben Cramer

“I’ve been writing since I was six. It is a compulsion, so I can’t really say where the desire came from; I’ve always had it. My breakthrough with the first book came through persistence, because a lot of publishers turned it down.” – J.K. Rowling

Creative Writing Quotes

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“Don’t expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.” – Leslie Gordon Barnard

“Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.” – Paula Danziger

“It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.” – Virginia Woolf

“The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again.” – Eudora Welty

Stephen King Writing Quotes

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“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” – Stephen King

“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” – Stephen King

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” – Stephen King

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” – Stephen King

“The English language is an arsenal of weapons. If you are going to brandish them without checking to see whether or not they are loaded, you must expect to have them explode in your face from time to time.” – Stephen Fry

“On first drafts: It is completely raw, the sort of thing I feel free to do with the door shut — it’s the story undressed, standing up in nothing but its socks and undershorts.” – Stephen King

“My first feeling was that there was no way to continue. Writing isn’t like math; in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything.” – Stephenie Meyer

“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.” – Stephen King (this quote is from an interview with King in our May/June 2009 issue)

“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

“I go out to my little office, where I’ve got a manuscript, and the last page I was happy with is on top. I read that, and it’s like getting on a taxiway. I’m able to go through and revise it and put myself — click — back into that world.” – Stephen King

“Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.” – Stephen King

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” – 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

Beautiful Writing Quotes

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“The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.” – Andre Gide

“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. 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

“I just give myself permission to suck. I delete about 90 percent of my first drafts, so it doesn’t really matter much if on a particular day I write beautiful and brilliant prose that will stick in the minds of my readers forever, because there’s a 90 percent chance I’m just going to delete whatever I write anyway. I find this hugely liberating.” – John Green

“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” – Anne Lamott

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” – Elmore Leonard

Reading And Writing Quotes

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“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

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” – J.D. Salinger

“There’s no better teacher for writing than reading… Get a library card. That’s the best investment.” – Alisa Valdes

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” – Samuel Johnson

“One sure window into a person’s soul is his reading list.” – Mary B. W. Tabor

“Indeed, learning to write may be part of learning to read. For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.” – Eudora Welty

“I tell writers to keep reading, reading, reading. Read widely and deeply. And I tell them not to give up even after getting rejection letters. And only write what you love.” – Anita Diamant

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.” – Allegra Goodman

“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 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

Writing Quotes For Writers

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“You have to follow your own voice. You have to be yourself when you write. In effect, you have to announce, ‘This is me, this is what I stand for, this is what you get when you read me. I’m doing the best I can—buy me or not—but this is who I am as a writer.” – David Morrell

“Writers live twice.” – Natalie Goldberg

“Writers are always selling somebody out.” – Joan Didion

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.” – Enid Bagnold

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.” – Ernest Hemingway

“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.” – John Updike

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” – Terry Pratchett

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

“The task of a writer consists of being able to make something out of an idea.” – Thomas Mann

“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.” – Augusten Burroughs

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” – Albert Camus

“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” – Robert Benchley

“The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews.” – William Faulkner

“Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves.” – Alan W. Watts

“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.” – W.H. Auden

“Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.” – T.S. Eliot

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” – Dr. Seuss

“Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” – Ralph Keyes

“People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.” – R.L. Stine

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” – Robert Frost

“Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure. Emotion is easily transferred from the writer to the reader.” – Joseph Joubert

“Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.” – Mark Twain

“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” – Willa Cather

“Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.” – T.S. Eliot

“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.” – Margaret Chittenden

“Love is the only energy I’ve ever used as a writer. I’ve never written out of anger, although anger has informed love.” – Athol Fugard

“It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.” – Isaac Asimov

“It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer.” – Gerald Brenan

“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” – Dan Poynter.

“If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don’t listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.” – Lillian Hellman

“I would advise any beginning writer to write the first drafts as if no one else will ever read them — without a thought about publication — and only in the last draft to consider how the work will look from the outside.” – Anne Tyler

“I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it.” – Chinua Achebe

“Genius gives birth, talent delivers. What Rembrandt or Van Gogh saw in the night can never be seen again. Born writers of the future are amazed already at what they’re seeing now, what we’ll all see in time for the first time, and then see imitated many times by made writers.” – Jack Kerouac

“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.” – Catherine Drinker Bowen

“Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” – Flannery O’Connor

“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

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.” – Joseph Heller

“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

“Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.” – Gore Vidal

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of 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

“Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.” – Anon

“As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels.” – May Sarton

“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 a writer.” – Ray Bradbury

“An absolutely necessary part of a writer’s equipment, almost as necessary as talent, is the ability to stand up under punishment, both the punishment the world hands out and the punishment he inflicts upon himself.” – Irwin Shaw

“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” – Eugene Ionesco

“A writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.” – Burton Rascoe

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

“A writer is a world trapped in a person.” – Victor Hugo

“A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibilities of their own souls.” – Walt Whitman

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach

“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” – Roald Dahl

“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.” – A. A. Milne

Writing Quotes In Essays

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“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wadsworth

“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.” – Ken Follett

Writing Poetry Quotes

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“Always be a poet, even in prose.” – Charles Baudelaire

“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” – Robert Frost

Writing Letters Quotes

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“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.” – Arthur Plotnik

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anais Nin

“Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil—but there is no way around them.” – Isaac Asimov

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” – Blaise Pascal

“I get a lot of letters from people. They say, “I want to be a writer. What should I do?” I tell them to stop writing to me and get on with it.” – Ruth Rendell

“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.” – Jane Yolen

“A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.” – Jane Austen

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