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Today I wanted to share a great round-up of my favorite writing quotes for writers, because sometimes it can be just that little bit of motivational inspiration you need to keep going.An encouraging word from a published author is always reassurance that the madness of sitting at your laptop typing words for hours is worth the sacrifice!
We can also learn a lot about how to write from these famous author quotes included in this list of quotes about writing! Many of these quotes come from well known authors who share their best tips, advice, and secrets to learn all about writing.
While these quotes are no substitute for taking an online writing class, you’ll definitely find some inspiration here!
From tips for staying motivated to inspiring ideas for how to develop great characters in your writing, you are sure to find a lot of great writing advice to be found in these words of wisdom from successful authors!
Here are 101 Writing Quotes for Writers
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” – Anne Lamott
“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” – Ayn Rand
“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.”
– W.H. Auden
“There are reasons people seek escape in books, and one of those reasons is that the boundary of what can happen is beyond what we do – or would want to see in real life.” – James Patterson
“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.” – William H. Gass
“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
Writing Advice Quotes: Tips to Write Better from Writers
“Always be a poet, even in prose.” – Charles Baudelaire
“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” – Frank Herbert
“I almost always urge people to write in the first person. … Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.” – William Zinsser
“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” – Ray Bradbury
“There is only one plot — things are not what they seem.” – Jim Thompson
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” – Stephen King
“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 always get more respect when you don’t have a happy ending.” – Julia Quinn
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” – Thomas Jefferson
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou
“The secret of good writing is telling the truth.” – Gordon Lish
“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
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” – Dr. Seuss
Quotes About Creativity and Finding Inspiration as a Writer
“There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.” – Willa Cather
“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” – Ray Bradbury
“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
“I start with a question. Then try to answer it.” – Mary Lee Settle
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison
“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
Hobbes: Do you have an idea for your story yet?
Calvin: No, I’m waiting for inspiration. You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
Hobbes: What mood is that?
Calvin: Last-minute panic.
– Bill Watterson
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wadsworth
“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’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” – Ernest Hemingway
“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
“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” – Oscar Wilde
“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
“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
“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” – Willa Cather
Quotes On Writing for Children
“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 don’t believe that there’s a demarcation. ‘Oh, you mustn’t tell them that. You mustn’t tell them that.’ You tell them anything you want. Just tell them if it’s true. If it’s true, you tell them.” – Maurice Sendak
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
Quotes from Writers About Reading and Books
You’ll probably notice a common theme about all of these next quotes from writers – if you wish to write a book, you better get reading! Here are some of our favorite quotes about reading and books from a variety of authors.
“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
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King
“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
“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
“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
“One sure window into a person’s soul is his reading list.” – Mary B. W. Tabor
“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
Motivational Quotes for Writers
“The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” – Charles Dickens
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour
“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
“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
“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
“You can make anything by writing.” – C.S. Lewis
“You can fix anything but a blank page.” – Nora Roberts
“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” – George Singleton
“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.” – Edgar Rice Burroughs
“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
Writing Quotes About Not Giving Up
These writing quotes about not giving up are a good thing to remember when you start submitting your manuscript to publishers! It’s easy to want to give up, but it is worth the trials and tribulations to keep working at becoming a successful published author.
“Focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself.” – Mark Twain
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” – Isaac Asimov
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” – Oscar Wilde
“The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.” – Ernest Hemingway
“Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” – Ralph Keyes
Writing Quotes About Editing and Revising
“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
“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” – Stephen King
“Half my life is an act of revision.” – John Irving
“Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.” – Hunter S. Thompson
“Good writing is rewriting.” – Truman Capote
“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
“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” – C. J. Cherryh
“Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.” – T.S. Eliot
“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
More Great Quotes for Writers
“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
“I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” – Isaac Asimov
“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
“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 short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.” – Lorrie Moore
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anaïs Nin
“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
“A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.” – Jane Austen
“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
“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
“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
“I don’t think of literature as an end in itself. It’s just a way of communicating something.” – Isabel Allende
“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” – Blaise Pascal
“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
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
“All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.” – E.B. White
“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
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest Hemingway
“There is no such thing as fantasy unrelated to reality.” – Maurice Sendak
“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God.” – Sidney Sheldon
“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” – Aldous Huxley
“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
“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.” – Roald Dahl
What are your favorite writing quotes?
After reading these writing quotes, do you have a favorite? Which ones inspire you to start writing? Are there any quotes that offer writing tips you find useful? Are there any writing quotes you like that we may not have included on this list?
Your thoughts, comments, suggestions and ideas are always welcome in the comments section below!
My favorite is probably “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” because it’s so true. I love writing. I’ve wanted to be a writer for, like, ten years, since I was five, but it’s taken me this long to really be serious about it. I’m very introverted. I will read, write, play with my cats, listen to music, and text my friends while sitting at a table or lying in bed all day, but ask me to go out to eat, or go shopping … No, thanks. I actually took an online test to see if I was introverted or extravereted (I obviously already knew the answer, but I LOVE online tests) and I got 97% introverted, 3% percent extraverted so if that tells you anything … Anyway. I also liked the quote about exclamation points. I can’t STAND exclamation points. Ask my mom or any of my friends … Well, I really don’t know why I wrote all this when I could’ve been working on my book and nobody’s probably going to read this anyway and if you do, you probably won’t care, or get this far. Imma go now. Bye…
My mother said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly until you can do it well.” That works with writing and so much more.
Great advice Diana, thank you!
“If you write, you’re a writer.” I encourage myself with that concept. I’m retired from the real world, and when people ask me what I do now, I say, “I’m a writer and look forward to the day I’m an author.” Thank you for these quotes on writing.