The 50 Most Inspiring Quotes About Writing of All Time

The following two tabs change content below.
Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

Latest posts by Lisa Powell (see all)

Quotes About Writing: How to Be a Boring, Bad Writer Buy at

Writing and publishing best-selling books is my lifelong dream, but nobody ever said that being a writer is easy.

To keep myself going, I have collected some quotes by favorite writers about the art of writing. Here are, in my humble opinion, the 50 most inspiring quotes about writing of all time.

I listed them in alphabetical order, by author, so you can look for some of your favorite authors more easily. Or, you can add your own favorite quotes about writing to the comments section on this post for all of us to enjoy.

Hope they keep you inspired to get writing, or keep writing! Happy writing, dreamers.

p.s. Below is an image of a “sexy writer” too from the Pop Culture Divas, created by Ice Luiz. Of course, I always look this glamorous while writing.

Hee. Enjoy the quotes!

Most Inspiring Quotes of All Time About Writing Image by Luiz

Image Source: Luiz, AKA iceluiz at Diviant Art


1. I like deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. ~ Douglas Adams

2. Write what should not be forgotten. ~ Isabel Allende

3. Writing is like sex; you don’t wait until you’re an expert to begin doing it. ~ Anonymous

4. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

5. A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. ~ Maya Angelou

6. A word after a word after a word is power. ~ Margaret Atwood

7. Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything… It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus. ~ Enid Bagnold

8. One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing – writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind then if I took the day off. ~ Lawrence Block, WD

9. Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way. ~ Ray Bradbury

10. If you have other things in your life — family, friends, good productive day work — these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer. ~ David Brin

11. Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either. ~ Meg Cabot

12. The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought be editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home. ~ John Campbell

13. To live a creative life, we must lose the fear of being wrong.~ Joseph Campbell

14. Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.~ Anton Chekhov

15. It’s perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.~ C.J. Cherryh

16. Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it… ~ Michael Crichton

17. Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.~ E.L. Doctorow

18. Thank your readers and the critics who praise you, and then ignore them. Write for the most intelligent, wittiest, wisest audience in the universe: Write to please yourself. ~ Harlan Ellison

19. Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.~ William Faulkner

20. So what? All writers are lunatics! ~ Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

21. This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.~ Neil Gaiman

22. Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

23. Only a person with a Best Seller mind can write Best Sellers. ~ Aldous Huxley

24. Half my life is an act of revision.~ John Irving

25. I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged… I had poems which were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.~ Erica Jong

26. Mistakes are the portals of discovery.~ James Joyce

27. Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. ~ Stephen King, On Writing

28. That manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address.’ Just keep looking for the right address.~ Barbara Kingsolver

29. Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.~ Rudyard Kipling

30. Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You have to start somewhere.~ Anne Lamott

31. Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. ~ Anne Lamott

32. You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.~ Madeleine L’Engle

33. Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose… not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.~ Anne Sullivan Macy

34. You write that first draft really to see how it’s going to come out.~ James Michener

35. I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.~ James Michener

36. Writing is its own reward.~ Henry Miller

37. If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.~ Toni Morrison

38. Don’t sell yourself short; dare to dream. You might sell to a top market before you ever sell to a non-paying market – you won’t know unless you try. In the same way, it’s good to be cooperative, but don’t be too humble either.~ Rheal Nadeau

39. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.~ Anais Nin

40. Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.~ Sylvia Plath

41. Write your first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head.~ Mike Rich

42. What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.~ J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

43. Pay no attention to what critics say; no statue has ever been erected to a critic. ~ Jean Sibelius

44. Write as freely and rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Review in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material… ~ John Steinbeck

45. The only way to learn to write is to write.~ Peggy Teeters

46. We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.~ Kurt Vonnegut

47. Failure? I never encountered it. All I met were temporary setbacks.~ Dottie Walters

48. All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world. ~ E.B. White

49. Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William  Wordsworth

50. Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.~ Virginia Woolf

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? Share in the comments and keep the list growing!


  • My favorite: “oh shit it’s shit” by Stephen King

  • I enjoyed reading this Lisa. Well done on compiling a good list :)

  • These quotes are very inspiring. Thanks for sharing. My favorite is – Failure? I never encountered it. All I met were temporary setbacks. ~ Dottie Walters