The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life


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A word after a word after a word is power. Margaret Atwood Click to tweet. There is no perfect time to write. Barbara Kingsolver Click to tweet. More short quotes You may also like: inspirational quotes motivational quotes happiness quotes love quotes life quotes. You can make anything by writing. Lewis Click to tweet. Shoot for the top, always. Ursula K. Le Guin. Octavia E. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.

Pearl S. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka. Jim Tully. Be strategic and resilient in the pursuit of your dreams. That sounds like a cheesy quote, right? Resilience is one hell of a quality to master and not many have the skin for it. Tiffany D. Neil Gaiman. The writer must have a good imagination to being with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding and revising.

Get it down. Take chances. William Faulkner Click to tweet. Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up. Jane Yolen. Chinua Achebe. The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work. Augusten Burroughs. Let them think you were born that way. The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

Gilbert K. Chesterton Click to tweet. Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke. Scott Fitzgerald. Writing is often the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about. Shane Parrish. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Unknown Submitted by the Wisdom Quotes Community. Mark Twain. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway. Lady Gaga. Charles Bukowski. Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. George Singleton. Robert Benchley. Many people hear voices when no one is there.

Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. Margaret Chittenden. You just have to go on when it is worst and most helpless — there is only one thing to do with a novel and that is go straight on through to the end of the damn thing.

Louisa May Alcott Click to tweet. Isaac Isimov. Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money. Fiction is the truth inside the lie. The first duty of the novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, travelling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying.

Books are written by the alone for the alone. Donna Tartt.

50 most inspirational quotes from books

Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Writing is something you do alone. John Green. A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. Eugene Ionesco. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.

Leslie Gordon Barnard. Whether we are describing a king, an assassin, a thief, an honest man, a prostitute, a nun, a young girl, or a stallholder in a market, it is always ourselves that we are describing. Guy De Maupassant. Of your unspoken words, you are the master; of your spoken words, the servant; of your written words, the slave.

Quaker proverb. I almost always urge people to write in the first person. Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it. William Zinsser. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others. The story must strike a nerve — in me. My heart should start pounding when I hear the first line in my head. I start trembling at the risk.

Susan Sontag. Isabel Allende.

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Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use. I would always be that same maddening, monstrous mixture of pedantry, egoism, politeness, selfishness, kindliness, sneakiness, larkiness, sociability, loneliness, ambition, ordered calm and hidden intensity.

I would cover my life with words. I would spray the whole bloody world with words. Stephen Fry. Roald Dahl Click to tweet. Jack Kerouac. Whether a character in your novel is full of choler, bile, phlegm, blood or plain old buffalo chips, the fire of life is in there, too, as long as that character lives. James Alexander Thom. Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.

Roald Dahl. Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation. Writing is meant to move the heart, the mind, the soul — not the page-view meter. Maria Popova brainpickings. A book is simply the container of an idea — like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters. Angela Carter. 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. Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.

I think they complement each other. Manuel Puig. No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader. Robert Frost.

Lillian Hellman. There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself. Writing gives thought solid form.

Get your raw mental process on paper. Disciplined writing is disciplined thinking. The Stoic Emperor. Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader — not the fact that is is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon. When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. Nothing leads so straight to futility as literary ambitions without systematic knowledge. Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.

Francis Bacon. Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards. Robert A. Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Click to tweet. I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. Anne Frank Click to tweet. Gloria Steinem. Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters. I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not.

Joss Whedon. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand — but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied. Zadie Smith. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.

Mary Shelley Frankenstein. Alice Walker. I have trusted to intuition. I did it at the beginning.

15 Quotes On Books And Reading From Famous Writers And Reading

I do it even now. I have no idea how things might turn out, where in my writing I might go next. I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still. Sylvia Plath Click to tweet. For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word. Catherine Drinker Bowen.


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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, melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in a human situation. Graham Greene. I have to write to be happy whether I get paid for it or not. But it is a hell of a disease to be born with. I like to do it. Which is even worse. That makes it from a disease into a vice. Then I want to do it better than anybody has ever done it which makes it into an obsession.

An obsession is terrible. Writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done.

Literature Quotes and Sayings

It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done — so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well. Min Kim. What I want and what I fear. Joan Didion. Writing is nothing more than a guided dream. Jorge Luis Borges Click to tweet. The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. Albert Einstein. The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power. Good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun.

Wherever you write is supposed to be a little bit of a refuge, a place where you can get away from the world. Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. John Steinbeck. Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous — to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd. Thomas Mann. Naomi Judd Click to tweet.

Somerset Maugham. John Updike. 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. When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature. In solitude I find my answers. Kristen Butler. 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 McCaffrey. Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.

The Top 12 Quotes About Literature

Jessamyn West. Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything. Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman. Virginia Woolf Click to tweet. Not all poetry wants to be storytelling. And not all storytelling wants to be poetry. But great storytellers and great poets share something in common: They had something to say, and did.

Sarah Kay. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal. Eliot Click to tweet. Style means the right word. The rest matters little. Jules Renard Click to tweet. I do not over-intellectualise the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story. Tom Clancy. Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life. Hunter S. Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear. Ezra Pound. My aim in constructing sentences is to make the sentence utterly easy to understand, writing what I call transparent prose.

Ken Follett. After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world. Philip Pullman. I want the story to have a rhythm that keeps moving forward. Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short. I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.

Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Part 2. Writing Quotes That Are…

Anton Chekhov. And one of [the things you learn as you get older] is, you really need less… My model for this is late Beethoven. He moves so strangely and quite suddenly sometimes from place to place in his music, in the late quartets. My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way. Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done. Part 1. I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English — it is the modern way and the best way. Part 2. When you catch an adjective, kill it. They weaken when they are close together.

They give strength when they are wide apart. Part 3. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice. All stories have to at least try to explain some small portion of the meaning of life. Gene Weingarten. The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. Thomas Jefferson. You can always edit a bad page. Jodi Picoult Click to tweet. There are three rules for writing a novel.

Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. William Somerset Maugham. Give a hint and they will fulfill this hint with their own imagination. Paulo Coelho. Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance. James Baldwin. And so, until the scene ends, each sentence should lead to the next sentence. Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed. My breakthrough with the first book came through persistence, because a lot of publishers turned it down.

Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised. I write about imaginary countries, alien societies on other planets, dragons, wizards, the Napa Valley in I know these things. Any man who keeps working is not a failure. Ray Bradbury. And if the story does hold you, all else can be forgiven. Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially.

Amos Bronson Alcott. It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.

Annie Dillard. I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it. Toni Morrison Click to tweet. If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. Simple as that. Reading is important because, if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.

Tomie dePaola. He has realised that he is now facing a different kind of battle, not against enemies, but against the inevitable process of aging. Nick Carraway is the narrator of this story. He is portrayed as an Everyman, in other words, a typical human being. Nick is presented as having a level of uprightness that the other characters lack. The inclusion of this piece of paternal advice at the very start of his narration suggests that he is exhorting us to reserve judgment ourselves.

Atticus wants Jem to understand that courage comes in different forms; they are talking about the death of Mrs Dubose who, before she died, successfully fought a morphine addiction. Understanding the meaning of life is a quest that has occupied mankind for some time now. We are not suggesting that we know all the answers, but here are a few famous quotes from literature that might give you a bit of food for thought.

Here what Prospero is referring to is the sleep of death. He is alluding to the transitory nature of life, likening it to the temporary world of acting and the ephemeral realm of the spirits. A self-explanatory excerpt from a much-loved Winnie-the-Pooh poem, this quote might appeal to those of you who enjoy food but understand the benefits of getting outside and exercising after dinner.

A reminder maybe that life is not all about indulging ourselves. This poem was written about Aragorn, a humble human king who undertakes great journeys and explorations. It is also an exhortation to the reader to see beyond his own value systems. This answer has perhaps become more famous than the book itself. The world of literature is full of inspirational, moving and funny quotes.

We hope that you have enjoyed our small selection and that you find them useful. If any of them have had an impact on you, why not try reading the whole book, poem or play. We have given you a couple of Shakespeare quotes above, but many phrases first coined by him are still in everyday English usage. Here are some of our favourites. Famous Literary Quotes. Inspirational Literary Quotes From time to time, we all need a motivational boost. Rowling Another book written for children but loved by adults.

Romantic Literary Quotes If you have ever been in a romantic situation where you want to say exactly the right thing, but find yourself tongue-tied, you might like to choose from this section of romantic literary offerings. Yeats Not being satisfied with roses or diamonds, in this poem Yeats suggests that, if he had access them, he would lay out the heavens for his love to walk on.

Literary Quotes for Business The business world can be a tough one. Scott Fitzgerald Nick Carraway is the narrator of this story.

The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life
The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life
The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life
The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life
The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life The Writers Book of Inspiration: Quotes on Writing and the Literary Life

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