Writing Analytics

571 Quotes on Writing

Get inspired by the world's best writers.
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“Writing gives you the illusion that you're in control. But it's just that: an illusion.”
“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”
“Work like hell! I had 122 rejection slips before I sold a story.”
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
“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.”
“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”
“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.”
“Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer.”
“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.”
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes...you're doing something.”
“I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.”
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”
“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”
“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.”
“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.”
“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.”
“Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure. Emotion is easily transferred from the writer to the reader.”
“I get up at 7:30 and work four hours a day. Nine to twelve in the morning, five to six in the evening. No one works well eight hours a day.”
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
“Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.”
“There is no such thing as fantasy unrelated to reality.”
“If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.”
“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.”
“Write your first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head.”
“The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.”
“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.”
“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.”
“You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.”
“Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.”
“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.”
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.”
“A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.”
“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.”
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shovelling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
“You do an awful lot of bad writing in order to do any good writing. Incredibly bad. I think it would be very interesting to make a collection of some of the worst writing by good writers.”
“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.”
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”
“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.”
“A story should entertain the writer, too.”
“The secret to good writing is rewriting.”
“Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.”
“Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We’re not here to be comfortable—we’re here, really, to shake things up. That’s our job.”
“To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.”
“A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.”
“There’s only one rule of show business, or writing. And that’s don’t be boring.”
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
“If you can tell a story as briefly as possible, it’s more dramatic. If it’s too long, then it has the problems of pacing, it could get a little slow. But the shorter you can make a story, the better.”
“Writing is a matter of experimentation. And all writers do a lot of revision. […] you keep rewriting to find the rhythm and the voice that’s suitable for that story.”
“Writing is like a spiritual manifestation of something deep within us we don’t really know is there.”
“Keeping a journal sharpens our senses. It’s like an exercise in writing. If you’re describing a scene, you are practicing the act of writing—which is very important—and thinking in language.”
“There is an instinct in our species to tell stories. It’s a way of explaining the universe and explaining our world.”
“If you really do want to write, and you’re struggling to get started, you’re afraid of something. What is that fear?”
“You’ve got to stand being bad if you wanna be a writer, because if you don’t, you’re never going to write anything good.”
“The story in which somebody gets to learn better, somebody gets to change their mind, somebody gets to see the world differently—is a beautiful shape for a story.”
“Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They’re journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.”
“What you want on the first page is something that is going to beckon the reader in.”
“Don’t forget: human beings talk because they want something. They want to tell you something, they want to get some information, they want to express something. Dialogue is always driven by your character’s agenda.”
“The difficulties of the hero are the same thing as the difficulties of the writer.”
“Create a worthy opponent. The villain will be the catalyst for everything.”
“The only thing that’s bad for writing is being interrupted. You have to have time to write. And while that seems obvious, you’re probably living a life with a lot of interruptions.”
“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
“Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”
“I try to write a certain amount each day, five days a week. A rule sometimes broken is better than no rule.”
“Excellence sometimes seems like the result of natural talent. But no matter how gifted you are — no matter how easily you climb up the learning curve — you do need to do that climbing. There are no shortcuts.”
“I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises.”
“I’ve found most authors have the wrong mental picture of the process. Instead of a sprint, publishing is more like a marathon. Slow, steady and consistent action will get you your audience and success.”
“Don’t give up, and don’t lose your stubborn belief that you have a story worth telling. I’ve had so many people tell me over so many years that I didn’t have the qualities needed to be a writer.”
“The writer’s life is one filled with creativity, sure, but there are so many other skill sets you need to practice before bringing your books to your readers (or literary agents and publishers). Keep going. Keep writing. Keep learning.”
“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.”
“I finished my first book seventy-six years ago. I offered it to every publisher on the English-speaking earth I had ever heard of. Their refusals were unanimous: and it did not get into print until, fifty years later; publishers would publish anything that had my name on it.”
“Publication is a marathon, not a sprint. Writing the book is only the start.”
“Here’s the thing: The book that will most change your life is the book you write.”
“Like most—maybe all— writers, I learned to write by writing and, by example, by reading books.”
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”
“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”
“Blocks usually stem from fear of being judged. If you imagine the world is listening, you’ll never write a line.”
“Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”
“The easy, conversational tone of good writing comes only on the eighth rewrite.”
“But this I know; the writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master–something that at times strangely wills and works for itself.”
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
“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.”
“They say that great art is made by hunger and passion.”
“Why waste a sentence saying nothing?”
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”
“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.”
“My ambition is to say in ten sentences what other men say in whole books—what other men do not say in whole books.”
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
“We should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation.”
“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”
“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”
“When I write, I give people access to their own emotions.”
“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
“No need to force yourself to do something the “right way” if it’s not your right way. Your job is to honor your process.”
“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.”
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”