Quotes about Writing

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Raymond Chandler, 1870-1959
When in doubt, have a
man come through the
door with a gun in his
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
Chamfort, 1741-94
Most of today’s books
have an air of having
been written in one day
from books read the night
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
H. L. Mencken, 1880-1956
There is in writing the
constant joy of sudden
discovery, happy