Sunday, June 20, 2010

Writing Quotes

 The literary journal Crazyhorse recently did a call-out for the best writing quotes of all time. Two of my favorite inspirational writing quotes are:

"I nearly always write, just as I nearly always breathe." 
- John Steinbeck

"There is never a perfect time to write. There's only now." 
- Barbara Kingsolver

Here are the "Top 20" writing quotes according to the Crazyhorse editors. Read on for motivation, insight, encouragement, and proof that you are not alone -- all writers struggle with rejection, writer's block, and at-times finicky muses!

"What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers."
—Logan Pearsall Smith

"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master."
—Ernest Hemingway

"The poet: would rather eat a heart than a hambone."
—Theodore Roethke

"If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works."
—John Dos Passos

"I only write when I feel the inspiration. Fortunately, inspiration strikes at 10 o'clock every day."
—William Faulkner

"If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up."
—Hunter S. Thompson

"The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location."
—Flannery O'Connor

"I write a little every day, without hope and without despair."
—Isak Dinesen

"Write, damn you! What else are you good for?"
—James Joyce

"If I don't write to empty my mind I go mad."
—Lord Byron

"I could claim any number of high-flown reasons for writing, just as you can explain certain dogs' behavior... But maybe, it's that they're dogs, and that's what dogs do."
—Amy Hempel

"Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein."
—Red Smith

"Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant."
—Winston Churchill

"Always pull back -- and see how silly we must look to God."
—Jack Kerouac

"The end of all our exploring will be to arrive when we started and know the place for the first time."
—T.S. Eliot

"If you're a good writer, these days, you pay attention to the way that people don't pay attention."
—Charles Baxter

"There are three rules to writing a novel and nobody knows what they are."
—Wm. Somerset Maugham

"Writing is finally a series of permissions you give yourself to be expressive in certain ways. To leap. To fly. To fail."
—Susan Sontag

"We put on our stories before our clothes…."
—William Wenthe

"All good writing is swimming underwater and holding your breath."
—F. Scott Fitzgerald

"All I am is the trick of words writing themselves."
—Anne Sexton

What are some of your favorite writing quotes? Comment away! I'd love to hear!


Jon Becker said...

Some favorites off the top of my head:

"Writer's block is a failure of the ego."
-Norman Mailer

"Don't get it right, get it written."
-Art Arthur

And, last but not least, I like Garrison Keillor's take in this column he did for

"Clarity is hard. Honesty can be hard. Comedy is always chancy, but then so is profundity. Sometimes one winds up as the other. Illness is, of course, to be avoided, and also megamalls and meetings involving vice presidents. But writing is not painful, no more so than a round of golf."

Dallas said...

Thanks for commenting, Jon! I think Art Arthur's is especially helpful when struggling with writer's block. And thanks for the link -- Garrison Keillor is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

While typing macabre scenes, I'm concerned how easy this is. Sometimes I ask myself, :Do you think there's anything wrong with me?" - Stephen Tremp

Dallas said...

Hahaha, thanks for the input Stephen! Writing can indeed be quite the enjoyable stress relief -- and those scenes bring enjoyment to your readers as well!