Quotes

There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~Anaïs Nin

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy

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 would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O’Brien

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. ~Mark Twain

The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. ~Orson Scott Card

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~Mark Twain

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. ~Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener

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

I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork. ~Peter De Vries

Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind. ~Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic, December 1957

It seems to me that the problem with diaries, and the reason that most of them are so boring, is that every day we vacillate between examining our hangnails and speculating on cosmic order. ~Ann Beattie, Picturing Will, 1989

Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don’t start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, “Great Rules of Writing”

No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous. ~Henry Brooks Adams, The Education of Henry Adams, 1907

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable. ~Francis Bacon

Be obscure clearly. ~E.B. White

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela

I asked Ring Lardner the other day how he writes his short stories, and he said he wrote a few widely separated words or phrases on a piece of paper and then went back and filled in the spaces. ~Harold Ross

Writing comes more easily if you have something to say. ~Sholem AscWhat no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window. ~Burton Rascoe

Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake. ~E.L. Doctorow

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 Polotnik

As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out. ~Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894

To withdraw myself from myself has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive in scribbling at all. ~Lord Byron

Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head. ~From the movie Finding Forrester

If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don’t remove it – I might be writing in my dreams. ~Danzae Pace

There’s only one person who needs a glass of water oftener than a small child tucked in for the night, and that’s a writer sitting down to write. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook

One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of one’s own flesh in the inkpot, each time one dips one’s pen. ~Leo Tolstoy

A man will turn over half a library to make one book. ~Samuel Johnson

Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially. ~A. Bronson Alcott<!–, Concord Days, ” April: Scholarship. April 28,” 1872; CTO–>

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. ~Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades, 1947

Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. ~Colette, Casual Chance, 1964
Having imagination, it takes you an hour to write a paragraph that, if you were unimaginative, would take you only a minute. Or you might not write the paragraph at all. ~Franklin P. Adams, Half a Loaf, 1927 i never think at all when i write
nobody can do two things at the same time
and do them both well
~Don Marquis, Archy’s Life of Mehitabel, 1933

I keep little notepads all over the place to write down ideas as soon as they strike, but the ones that fill up the quickest are always the ones at my nightstand. ~Emily Logan Decens

I even shower with my pen, in case any ideas drip out of the waterhead. ~Graycie Harmon

Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out. ~Samuel Johnson, “Recalling the Advice of a College Tutor,” Boswell, Life of Johnson, 1791

A notepad by the bedside accounts for half the earnings of my livelihood. If it weren’t for bedtime, half my novels would still be stuck at dock. -Ever Garrison

An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate. ~Chateaubriand, Le Génie du Christianisme, 1802

Keep a diary and one day it’ll keep you. ~Mae West

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. ~George Orwell, “Why I Write,” 1947

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment. ~Hart Crane

Writing is a product of silence. ~Carrie Latet

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

The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new. ~Samuel Johnson

There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. ~William Makepeace Thackeray

I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head. ~John Updike

Find these quotes and many more at Quote Garden.

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