Writing quotes

Writing Quotations

An incurable itch for scribbling takes possession of many and grows inveterate in their insane hearts.
-- Juvenal

When I want to read a good book, I write one.
-- Benjamin Disraeli

I can't understand why a person will take a year to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars.
-- Fred Allen

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
-- Red Smith

It's much easier to write a solemn book than a funny book. It's harder to make people laugh than it is to make them cry. People are always on the verge of tears.
-- Fran Lebowitz

Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.
-- Winston Churchill

All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.
-- George Orwell

Almost all great writers have as their motif, more or less disguised, the "passage from childhood to maturity," the clash between the thrill of expectation, and the disillusioning knowledge of the truth. Lost illusion is the undisclosed title of every novel.
-- Andre Maurois

Writers... write to give reality to experience.
--Archibald Macleish

In a very real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself.
-- Alfred Kazin

Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.
-- Marianne Moore

The secret of popular writing is never to put more on a given page than the common reader can lap off it with no strain whatsoever on his habitually slack attention.
-- Ezra Pound

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
-- Elmore Leonard

As for my next book, I am going to hold myself from writing it till I have it impending in me; grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear; pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall.
-- Virginia Woolf

I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet gone ourselves.
-- E.M. Forster

A book is a mirror; if an ass peers into it, you can't expect an apostle to peer out.
-- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one's encounter with it in a book.
-- Andre Maurois

No man understands a deep book until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents.
-- Ezra Pound

The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity.
-- Thomas Carlyle

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
-- Chinese proverb

If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly in hand before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer.
-- Anne Frank

I put things down on sheets of paper and stuff them in my pockets. When I have enough, I have a book.
-- John Lennon

No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader's intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.
-- E.B. White

This is what I find encouraging about the writing trades: ... They allow lunatics to seem saner than sane.
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Everyone who works in the domain of fiction is a bit crazy. The problem is to render this craziness interesting.
-- Francois Truffaut

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.
-- Groucho Marx, on S.J. Perlman's first book

Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency... to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the Ode on a Grecian Urn is worth any number of old ladies.
-- William Faulkner

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in shock-proof shit-detector.
-- Ernest Hemingway

When a book, any sort of book, reaches a certain intensity of artistic performance it becomes literature. That intensity may be a matter of style, situation, character, emotional tone, or idea, or half a dozen other things. It may also be a perfection of control over the movement of a story similar to the control a great pitcher has over a ball.
-- Raymond Chandler

I think you must remember that a writer is a simple-minded person to begin with and go on that basis. He's not a great mind, he's not a great thinker, he's not a great philosopher, he's a story teller.
-- Erskine Caldwell

Most writers are in a state of gloom a good deal of the time; they need perpetual reassurance.
-- John Hall Wheelock

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after the first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.
-- Ernest Hemingway

Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of a writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.
-- Lawrence Clark Powell

I felt like you can write forever, but you have a short time to raise a family. And I think a family is a lot more important than writing.
-- Ken Kesey

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window.
-- Burton Rascoe

The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and about all time.
-- George Bernard Shaw

I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.
-- Samuel Johnson

The novel is the highest example of subtle interrelatedness that man has discovered.
-- D.H. Lawrence

Prose are the show dogs I breed and sell to support my cat.
-- Robert Graves, on writing novels to support his love of writing poetry

A writer's problem... is always how to write truly and, having found out what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of the experience of the person who reads it.
-- Ernest Hemingway

There is only one trait that marks the writer. He is always watching. It's a kind of trick of the mind and he is born with it.
-- Morley Callaghan

There has always been this dichotomy in a real writer. He wants to be terribly human, and he responds emotionally, and at the same time there's this cold observer who cannot cry.
-- Brian Moore

In any work that is truly creative, I believe, the writer cannot be omniscient in advance about the effects that he proposes to produce. The suspense of a novel is not only in the reader, but in the novelist, who is intensely curious about what will happen to the hero.
-- Mary McCarthy

If I didn't know the ending of a story, I wouldn't begin. I always write my last line, my last paragraph, my last page first.
-- Katharine Anne Porter

Writing every book is like a purge; at the end of it one is empty... like a dry shell on the beach, waiting for the tide to come in again.
-- Daphne Du Maurier

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.
-- Samuel Johnson

Never submit an idea or chapter to an editor or publisher, no matter how much he would like you to. Writing from the approved idea is (another) gravely serious time-waster. This is your story. Try and find out what your editor wants in advance, but then try and give it to him in one piece.
-- John Creasey

Literary success of any enduring kind is made by refusing to do what publishers want, by refusing to write what the public wants, by refusing to accept any popular standard, by refusing to write anything to order.
-- Lafcadio Hearn

Great editors do not discover nor produce great authors; great authors create and produce great publishers.
-- John Farrar

It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck at only one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.
-- Samuel Johnson

I just think it's bad to talk about one's present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension.
-- Norman Mailer

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in a human situation.
-- Graham Greene

I think that in order to write really well and convincingly, one must be somewhat poisoned by emotion. Dislike, displeasure, resentment, fault-finding, imagination, passionate remonstrance, a sense of injustice -- they all make fine fuel.
-- Edna Ferber

Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves -- that's the truth. We have two or three great moving experiences in our lives -- experiences so great and moving that it doesn't seem at the time that anyone else has been caught up and pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just that way ever before.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Often while reading a book one feels that the author would have preferred to paint rather than write; one can sense the pleasure he derives from describing a landscape or a person, as if he were painting what he is saying, because deep in his heart he would have preferred to use brushes and colors.
-- Pablo Picasso