Famous Quotes

I love quotes. I find them insightful, uplifting, humorous, and helpful. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you. Most of them pertain to writing, naturally.

As a writer, it helps me to read quotes by famous writers and celebrities who have been there. These authors know about rejection. They know about writing the dreaded synopsis. They know about the waiting game. They know about the solitary writer’s life. Often, a sentence or two from these famous writers comfort me like freshly baked bread, especially when the words aren’t flowing or when I feel alone in the world while everyone else is outside enjoying the sunshine. Enjoy.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.”Stephen King

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ~ Jack London

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” ~ Robert Benchley

“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.” ~ E. L. Doctorow

“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” ~ Douglas Adams

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ~ W. Somerset Maugham

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with 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

“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

“I can’t write five words but that I change seven.” ~ Dorothy Parker

“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing that matters.” ~ Mother Teresa

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God.” ~ Sidney Sheldon

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” ~ Harper Lee

“We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” ~ Emily Dickinson

“If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do.”  ~ William Zinsser

“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.”  ~ Erica Jong

“Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

“Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.”  ~ Joshua Wolf Shenk 

“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.”  ~ Neil Gaiman

“I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.” ~ Stephen King

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do for them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” ~ Dorothy Parker

“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.” ~ Herman Melville

“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” ~ C. J. Cherryh

“Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.” ~ Ray Bradbury

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“Half my life is an act of revision.” ~ John Irving

“I took all of my rejection letters – there must have been thousands of them in a huge box – and I went out on the curb and burned them all, crying.”  ~ Janet Evanovich

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” ~ Maya Agelou

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” ~ William Faulkner

“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money either.” ~ Robert Graves

“You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.” ~ Larry Niven

“Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“All the information you need can be given in dialogue.” ~ Elmore Leonard

“A poet can survive everything but a misprint.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil—but there is no way around them.” ~ Isaac Asimov

“Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.” ~ Anne McCaffre

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” ~ Orson Scott Card