Speaking of Writing. . .

Image found on Google Images

Image found on Google Images

Here are some of my favorite writing quotes.  Which quotes have you found that inspire you as a writer?

  • I write to find out what I’m thinking about.”  Edward Albee
  • “It seems to me that writing is a marvelous way of making sense of one’s life, both for the writer and for the reader.”  John Cheever
  • “I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself.”  Joseph Conrad
  • “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 the human situation.”  Graham Greene
  • “From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality.  That is why you write and for no other reason that you know of.”  Ernest Hemingway
  • “A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.”  Franz Kafka
  • “ . . . the urge to write poetry is like having an itch.  When the itch becomes annoying enough, you scratch it.”  Robert Penn Warren
  • “Memory believes before knowing remembers.”  William Faulkner
  •  “If you’re silent for a long time, people just arrive in your mind.”  Alice Walker
  • “When men ask me how I know so much about men, they get a simple answer:  everything I know about me, I’ve learned from me.”  Anton Chekhov
  • “First and foremost I write for myself.  Writing has been for a long time my major tool for self-instruction and self-development.  I try to stay honest through pencil and paper.”  Toni Cade Bambara
  • “To be nobody but yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night and ay, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” e.e. cummings
  • “When I’m writing I’m always aware that this friend is going to like this, or another friend is going to like that paragraph or chapter, always thinking of specific people.  In the end, all books are written for your friends.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • “At first I wrote out of a very special place to me, although I did not understand what the place was or how to get to it deliberately.  I didn’t trust the writing that came from there.  It didn’t seem writerly enough. . . Then I learned to trust that apart, learned to rely on that part, and I learned how to get there faster than I had before.”  Toni Morrison
  • “I’m not alone when I’m writing—the language itself, like a kind of trampoline, is there helping me.”  William Stafford
  • “How can you write if you can’t cry.”  Ring Lardner
  • “Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade, just as painting does, or music.  If you are born knowing them, fine.  If not, learn them.  Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.”  Truman Capote
  • “The same common sense which makes an author write good things, him dread they are good enough to deserve reading.”  La Bruyere
  • “There is only one trait that marks the writer.  He is always watching.  It’s a kind of trick of mind and he is born with it.”  Marley Callaghan
  • “Nothing you write, if you hope to be good, will ever come out as you first hoped.”  Lillian Hellman
  • “A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself.”  Marrianne Moore
  • “No one who cannot limit himself has ever been able to write.”  Nicholas Boilean
  • “A writer’s problem does not change.  He himself changes and the world he lives in changes but, his problem remains the same.  It is always how to write truly and having found 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
  • “The difficulty of literature isn’t to write but to write what you mean.”  Robert Stevenson
  • “Words are, of course, the most powerful drugs used by mankind.”  Rudyard Kipling
  • “Every great and original writer in proportion, he is great and original, must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished.”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”  Samuel Johnson
  • “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
  • “A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”  William Faulkner
  • “I think the whole glory of writing lies in the fact that it forces us out of ourselves and into the lives of others.”  Sherwood Anderson
  • “Good writing is a kind of skating which carries off the performer where he would not go.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “There is no royal path to good writing; and such paths as exist do not lead through neat critical gardens, various as they are, but through the jungles of self, the world, and of craft.”  Jessamyn West
  • “Writing is easy.  All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”  Gene Fowler
  • “The secret of all good writing is sound judgment.”  Morace
  • “Nothing goes by in luck in composition.  It allows of no tricks.  The best you can write will be the best you are.”  Henry David
  • “To write weekly, to write daily, to write shortly, to write for busy people catching trains in the morning or for tired people coming home in the evening, is a heartbreaking tsk for men who know good writing from bad.”   Virginia Woolf
  • “Stung by the splendour of a sudden thought”  Robert Browning
  • “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”  Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • “You should know a word by the company it keeps.”  J. R. Ferth
  • “I am finding it hard to get my novel started.  I suffer from stylistic abcesses; and sentences keep itching without coming to a head.”  Gustave Flaubert
  • “Adjectives are the sugar of literature and adverbs the salt.”  Henry James
  • “Language is more fashion than science, and matters of usage, spelling, and pronunciation tend to wander around like hemlines.”   Bill Bryson
  • “Write while the heat is in you. . . The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.  He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.”  Henry David Thoreau
  • “Art is the objectification of feeling and the subjectification of nature.”  Susanne Langer
  • “Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”   Alfred North Whitehead
  • “Art is a jealous mistress.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “The only time a human being is free is when he or she makes a work of art.”  Friedrich von Schiller
  • “Writing books sets loose energy in the universe.”  Wendy Bishop
  • Every sentence has a truth waiting at the end of it and the writer learns how to know it when he finally gets there.  On one level this truth is the swing of the sentence, the beat and poise, but down deeper it’s the integrity of the writer as he matches with the language.  I’ve always seen myself in sentences.  I begin to recognize myself, word by word, as I work through a sentence.  The language of my books has shaped me as a man.  There’s a moral force in a sentence when it comes out right.  It speaks the writer’s will to live.  The deeper I become entangled in the process of getting a sentence right in its syllables and rhythms, the more I learn about myself.  Don Delillo, Mao II

2 thoughts on “Speaking of Writing. . .

  1. I like quotes too– keep me inspired. One of my favorites is from a book on creative writing. The authors write, “Posers talk about writing. Writers, write.” ‘Nuff said! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your quotes. I may have to borrow a few for my desk!

    • I guess I am a part-time poser on the days that I procrastinate or let other things take precedence over writing. I like that quote. Feel free to borrow what you like! Thanks for commenting.

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