40 Timeless Quotes About Writing

Thomas-Mann

You might think writing is easy- that all you need is a writerly instinct and you are good to go. But, having a writerly instinct alone doesn’t make a person a writer. Some of the most gifted writers of our time have tried and failed at writing because it’s a hard business. It lends itself to attacks on your intelligence, emotions, idiosyncrasies, and self-esteem- so you might as well be prepared. Even if you’re an utterly fantastic writer who will be remembered for decades to come, you’ll still receive a good dollop of criticism, rejection, and maybe even mockery before you get there.

George Orwell was rejected several times by publishers for Animal Farm, with Knopf Publishers, in 1945, saying the manuscript was a “stupid and pointless fable.” Vladimir Nabokov received a harsh rejection letter from Knopf too upon submitting Lolita, which would later go on to sell 50 million copies. Sylvia Plath’s first rejection letter for The Bell Jar read, “There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.” Gertrude Stein received a cruel rejection letter that mocked her style, and even Jack Kerouac’s perennial classic, On the Road received a blunt rejection letter that simply read, “I don’t dig this one at all.”

rejection letter

Arthur C. Fifield who didn’t bother reading the full manuscript for “The Making of Americans,” sent this most poetic rejection letter to novelist Gertrude Stein, who nonetheless went on to become one of the most prominent voices of American Literature. (Image credit: Mental Floss)

For those days when you feel dejected, hurt, weary or just a tad quit-y, a good writing quote can remind you of the essence of the craft and uplift your spirit. These timeless quotes about writing will encourage you to keep learning, to keep writing, and to keep striving.

1. “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

2. “Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home.” – Paul Theroux

3. “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” – Dorothy Parker

4. “If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do.” – William Zinsser

5. “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.” – Truman Capote

6. “Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.” – Agatha Christie

7. “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” – E. L. Doctorow

8. “The best advice on writing I’ve ever received is to take it seriously, because to do it well is all-consuming.” – David Guterson

9. “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury

10.“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” – Thomas Mann

11. “A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.” – Sidney Sheldon

12. “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.” – Henry David Thoreau

13. “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” – Ray Bradbury

14. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

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

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

17. “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest Hemingway

18. “I love my rejection slips, they show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath

19. “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac

20. “In general, what is written must be easy to read and easy to speak; which is the same.” – Aristotle

21. “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

22. “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” – Thomas Jefferson

23. “A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood

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

25. “Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences” – Sylvia Plath

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

27. “Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.” – Robert A. Heinlein

28. “Writers are always selling somebody out.” – Joan Didion

29. “It’s immoral not to tell.” – Albert Camus

30. “The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” – Robert Benchley

31. “So what? All writers are lunatics!” – Cornelia Funke

32. “Writers aren’t exactly people…. they’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.” – Scott Fitzgerald

33. “Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.” – Lev Grossman

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

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

36. “Writers live twice.” – Natalie Goldberg

37. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anaïs Nin

38. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. ” – Benjamin Franklin

39. “Write what should not be forgotten.” – Isabel Allende

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

The post 40 Timeless Quotes About Writing appeared first on Lifehack.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s