Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784 Composition is, for the most part, an act of slow diligence to which the mind is dragged by necessity or resolution. Winston Churchill, 1874-1965 History will be kind to me – for I intend to write it. Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1904-91 The wastepaper basket is the writer's best friend. Dorothy Parker, 1893-1967 This is not a book that should be tossed lightly aside. It should be hurled with great force. Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929- The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story. Louise Brooks, 1906-85 Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination. Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900 My ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in an entire book. Elmore Leonard,1925- My most important piece of advice to all you wouldbe writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip. Gloria Steinem, 1934- Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. Truman Capote, 1924-84 I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil. Blaise Pascal, 1623-62 I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter. Toni Morrison, 1931- If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. Lord Acton, 1834-1902 Learn as much by writing as by reading. Moses Hadas, 1900-1966 Thank you for sending me your book. I shall waste no time reading it. Robert Heinlein, 1907-88 Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards. Flannery O’Connor, 1925-64 Everywhere I go, I'm asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. Jack London, 1876-1916 You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. Madeleine L’Engle, 1918- Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it. Wilson Mizner, 1876-1933 When you take stuff from one writer, it's plagiarism. But when you take it from many writers, it's research. Thomas Mann, 1875-1955 A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. Kingsley Amis, 1922-95 If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing. Walter Bagehot, 1826-1877 The reason so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything. Robert Frost, 1874-1963 No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. Richard Peck Writing is communication, not selfexpression. Nobody in this world wants to read your diary except your mother. Jessamyn West, 1902-84 Writing is so difficult that I feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter. Benjamin Franklin, 1706-90 Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784 The two most engaging powers of an author are, to make new things familiar, and familiar things new. Susan Sontag, 1933-2004 Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer. Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900 I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again. Isaac Asimov, 1920-92 If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster. Ezra Pound, 1885-1972 Literature is news that STAYS news. Agatha Christie, 1890-1976 I've always believed in writing without a collaborator, because where two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worry and only half the royalties. Cyril Connolly, 1903-74 Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once. Albert Camus, 1913-60 Bad authors write with respect to an inner context that the reader cannot know. Molière, 1622-1673 I always do the first line well, but I have trouble doing the others. Katherine Anne Porter, 1890-1980 Most people won’t realize that writing is a craft. You have to take your apprenticeship in it like anything else. John Steinbeck, 1902-68 The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business. Alexander Pope, 1688-1744 True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learned to dance. Don Marquis, 1878-1937 i never think at all when i write – nobody can do two things at the same time and do them both well. E. M. Forster, 1879-1970 How do I know what I think until I see what I say? Anais Nin, 1903-77 We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. Mark Twain, 1835-1910 Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t. Pliny the Younger, 61-105 A.D. There is nothing to write about, you say. Well then, write and let me know just this – that there is nothing to write about. Rebecca West, 1892-1983 Journalism – an ability to meet the challenge of filling the space. Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784 Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. Lillian Hellman, 1905-1984 If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don’t listen to writers talking about writing or themselves. Raymond Chandler, 1870-1959 When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961 The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof s**t detector. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1751-1816 Easy writing makes curst hard reading. W. Somerset Maugham, 1874-1965 Writing is the supreme solace. Chamfort, 1741-94 Most of today’s books have an air of having been written in one day from books read the night before. Herman Melville, 1819-91 To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. Mickey Spillane, 1918- The first chapter sells the book. The last chapter sells the next book. Willa Cather, 1873-1947 Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen. Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1821-81 There is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it. Laurence Sterne, 1713-68 Writing, when properly managed, is but a different name for conversation. H. L. Mencken, 1880-1956 There is in writing the constant joy of sudden discovery, happy accident.