Quotes on Writing

I love quotes. I like how we can tie them into what we do, or how they can serve to motivate us. Here are twenty of my favorite quotes on writing:

  1. “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”  ~Ray Bradbury
  2. “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
  3. “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  ~Toni Morrison
  4. “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
  5. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”  ~Anton Chekhov
  6. “I love writing.  I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”  ~James Michener
  7. “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 clichés like the plague.”
    ~William Safire, “Great Rules of Writing”
  8. “When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.”  ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela
  9. “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”  ~Agatha Christie
  10. “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”  ~Stephen King
  11. “As for my next book, I am going to hold myself from writing it till I have it impending in me:  grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear; pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall.”  ~Virginia Woolf
  12. “Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?”  ~Joan Didion
  13. “Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.”  ~Goethe
  14. “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
  15. “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” ~ Elbert Hubbard
  16. “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
  17. “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” ~ James Michener
  18. “The process of writing has something infinite about it. Even though it is interrupted each night, it is one single notation.” ~ Elias Canetti
  19. “Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head.” ~ From the movie Finding Forrester
  20. “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” ~ Stephen King
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