Straight From The Author’s Mouth: Quotes On Writing

24 Sep

Recently I saw a blog post about being a writer and the writing process that was made up of quotes from various writers. It really brought home to me how well-known and successful writers are people too (I know, newsflash!) and suffer the same wobbles and insecurities as the rest of us.

Here’s a compilation of some of my favourite quotes, along with some that are new to me that I stumbled across when researching this post.

Reading: Your Other Favourite Thing To Do

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

“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

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

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

Just Get On With It! The Process Of Writing

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
― Mark Twain

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

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

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
― Stephen King

“The first draft of anything is s**t.”
― Ernest Hemingway

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

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

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

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

Attempting To Create Order (Otherwise Known As Editing)

“Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.”
― Patricia Fuller (Note: I LOVE this quote! :-))

“Editing fiction is like using your fingers to untangle the hair of someone you love.”
― Stephanie Roberts

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”
― William Faulkner

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

“You can fix anything but a blank page.”
― Nora Roberts

“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

On Being A Writer

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ”
― Agatha Christie

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

“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

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

“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

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

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

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
― Ernest Hemingway

I hope you found this collection of quotes inspiring or helpful or thought-provoking. They made me realise that it’s okay to struggle with what you’re doing, even when you are doing your favourite thing in the world and feel ungrateful if you complain about having a bad day. It can–and will!–happen to anyone.

So next time I have a bad writing day, I’ll embrace it, realise that tomorrow will be better, and remind myself that whilst writing is amazing, it’s no walk in the park. Neil Gaiman and Ernest Hemingway said so (more or less!). Who am I to argue?

Do you have any favourite quotes that you would like to share? 

6 Responses to “Straight From The Author’s Mouth: Quotes On Writing”

  1. Tom Elias September 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Great collection. Am I evil for laughing at the irony of Sylvia Plath’s quote?

    • Stacey Mitchell September 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      Ha! Not at all! I had to read it a couple of times, and then I figured she was just making a point, or something…

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh September 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    No, not the road to hell!
    There was a book I wanted to read so I wrote it.
    Some great quotes!

    • Stacey Mitchell September 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Thanks Alex! I had a lot of fun researching this blog post :-D

  3. Elle Turner September 25, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Love these, especially the one about the exclamation marks. Thanks, Stacey :-) xx

    • Stacey Mitchell September 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Yes, and it’s so true! (Whoops, I just can’t help myself…) My favourite was the one comparing an unedited book to going out in just your underwear :-D

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