Writing Quotes by Famous Authors

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Writing can change lives. Many authors have found peace in writing and have been quoted conveying the magic they have found in writing. We wanted to share some of the most famous writing quotes with you. Thank you to Goodreads for the quotes.

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”
― James Michener

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young

“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”
― Mark Twain

“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, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”
― William H. Gass, A Temple of Texts

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
― Winston S. Churchill

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”
― Toni Morrison, The Nobel Lecture In Literature, 1993

“A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.”
― Caroline Gordon

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
― Stephen King

“Tears are words that need to be written.”
― Paulo Coelho

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
― Robert Frost

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
― John Steinbeck

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“A word after a word after a word is power.”
― Margaret Atwood

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

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
― Stephen King

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”
― Neil Gaiman

“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”
― G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
― Saul Bellow

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of. ”
― Joss Whedon

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”
― Albert Camus

“So what? All writers are lunatics!”
― Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

“Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.”
― Neil Gaiman

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
― Frank Herbert

“I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.”
― Franz Kafka

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”
― Anais Nin

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“A short story is a different thing altogether – a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.”
― Stephen King, Skeleton Crew

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

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

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour

“A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.”
― Lorrie Moore

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
― Anne Frank

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.”
― Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”
― Lloyd Alexander

“If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
― Anais Nin

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“One always has a better book in one’s mind than one can manage to get onto paper.”
― Michael Cunningham

“Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”
― Christopher Hitchens

“I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which ‘Escape’ is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

“Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?”
― Cornelia Funke

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
― Henry David Thoreau

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
― Toni Morrison

“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.”
― Hermann Hesse

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”
― Neil Gaiman

“You know, it’s hard work to write a book. I can’t tell you how many times I really get going on an idea, then my quill breaks. Or I spill ink all over my writing tunic.”
― Ellen DeGeneres, The Funny Thing Is…

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
― Pablo Picasso

“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
― Ray Bradbury

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
― Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

“We live and breathe words. …. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt–I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted–and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

“Always be a poet, even in prose.”
― Charles Baudelaire

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L’Engle

“Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.”
― Philip José Farmer

“A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.”
― Stephen King

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”
― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

“Write what should not be forgotten.”
― Isabel Allende

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.”
― Howard Nemerov

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
― Philip Pullman

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.”
― Harvey Pekar

“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.”
― David Levithan, Every Day

“The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
― Ray Bradbury

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”
― Beatrix Potter

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”
― Stephen King

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”
― Stephen King

“Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos… to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream.”
― John Cheever

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
― Anton Chekhov

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“You can make anything by writing.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”
― Virginia Woolf

“A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgment, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.”
― Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
― Annie Proulx

“When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time. ”
― Lady Gaga

“By now, it is probably very late at night, and you have stayed up to read this book when you should have gone to sleep. If this is the case, then I commend you for falling into my trap. It is a writer’s greatest pleasure to hear that someone was kept up until the unholy hours of the morning reading one of his books. It goes back to authors being terrible people who delight in the suffering of others. Plus, we get a kickback from the caffeine industry…”
― Brandon Sanderson, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”
― Anais Nin

“People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don’t like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy.”
― Joss Whedon

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
― William Wordsworth

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

“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

“Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

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

“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

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”
― Isaac Asimov

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”
― E.L. Doctorow

“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”
― Tim O’Brien

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
― Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”
― Neil Gaiman

“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.”
― Meg Cabot

“Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.”
― Flannery O’Connor

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. 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.”
― Carl Sagan

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

“You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.”
― Richard Price

“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.”
― Franz Kafka

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

“You always get more respect when you don’t have a happy ending.”
― Julia Quinn

“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

“I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky. ”
― Sharon Olds

“Women want love to be a novel. Men, a short story.”
― Daphne du Maurier

“I hate writing, I love having written.”
― Dorothy Parker

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