If you're looking for writing quotes to inspire you, give you solace or inspiration (or maybe even a much-needed kick in the you-know-where!), you've come to the right place!

By definition, writers should be able to write well about their craft, and hence come up with good quotes on writing - and as you'll see from this collection, they do!

These quotes are in turn inspirational, funny, wise, and even cautionary sometimes.

There is a lot of wisdom in these words, and I invite you to browse and read and be inspired.

Now, having said that, there are some of these which contradict each other, and some which I absolutely disagree with. But I offer them to you anyway, because it's interesting to read different authors' points of view and opinions. We can sometimes learn as much from what we disagree with as from what we agree with.

Also note that many of these writing quotes date from many years ago. There are two things which have changed since then:

  • Technology, and
  • The prominence of women.

So you'll notice reference to wastepaper baskets and paper, whereas nowadays we'd be talking about delete buttons and screens. And also, in the older quotes writers are almost invariably referred to as 'he' - even by women writers, funnily enough. I know that 'he' used to be the default term to mean 'he or she', but it still reads funny to modern eyes.

But neither of these things change the basic truth and wisdom of the quotes.

I've given an alphabetical-by-author list, but I've also given a list of my favourite inspirational writing quotes for you to start off with if you like. There is a lot of value and learning in all of the pages, though - I do invite you to check those out also.

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

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
~ Scott Adams

The act of writing is an act of optimism. You would not take the trouble to do it if you felt that it didn’t matter.
~ Edward Albee

Sharing our stories can also be a means of healing. Grief and loss may isolate us, and anger may alienate us. Shared with others, these emotions can be powerfully uniting, as we see that we are not alone, and realize that others weep with us.
~ Susan Wittig Albert

A writer should say to himself, not, How can I get more money?, but How can I reach more readers (without lowering standards)?
~ Brian Aldiss

Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colours.
~ Rhys Alexander

All writing is a process of elimination.
~ Martha Albrand

Eighty percent of success is showing up.
~ Woody Allen

If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.
~ Woody Allen

If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.
~ Louis L’Amour

I think the first duty of all art, including fiction of any kind, is to entertain. That is to say, to hold interest. No matter how worthy the message of something, if it's dull, you're just not communicating.
~ Poul Anderson

One of the problems we have as writers is we don’t take ourselves seriously while writing; being serious is setting aside a time and saying if it comes, good; if it doesn’t come, good, I’ll just sit here.
~ Maya Angelou

If you wait for inspiration, you're not a writer, but a waiter.
~ Anonymous

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
~ Hannah Arendt

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
~ Aristotle

Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it’s so hurtful to think about writing.
~ Heather Armstrong

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil - but there is no way around them.
~ Isaac Asimov

When I feel difficulty coming on, I switch to another book I'm writing. When I get back to the problem, my unconscious has solved it.
~ Isaac Asimov

You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.
~ Isaac Asimov

Every novel is an equal collaboration between the writer and the reader and it is the only place in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy.
~ Paul Auster

It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.
~ Joan Baez

A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason.
~ Margaret Atwood

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
~ Richard Bach

You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.
~ Richard Bach

The words of the world want to make sentences.
~ Gaston Bachelard

Everything that doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And later on you can use it in some story.
~ Tapani Bagge

Convince yourself that you are working in clay, not marble, on paper not eternal bronze: Let that first sentence be as stupid as it wishes.
~ Jacques Barzun

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
~ Samuel Beckett

A book is so much a part of oneself that in delivering it to the public one feels as if one were pushing one’s own child out into the traffic.
~ Quentin Bell

Literature in its most comprehensive sense is the autobiography of humanity.
~ Bernard Berenson

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.
~ Leonard Bernstein

Often when I write I am trying to make words do the work of line and color. I have the painter's sensitivity to light. Much of my writing is verbal painting.
~ Elizabeth Bowen

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~ Ray Bradbury

There is no great writing, only great rewriting.
~ Justice Brandeis

It takes most of us a long time to learn our craft. So keep at it. Don't give up.
~ Jacqueline Briskin

Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.
~ Louise Brooks

Our interest's on the dangerous edge of things. The honest thief, the tender murderer, the superstitious atheist.
~ Robert Browning

The process of writing, any form of creativity, is a power intensifying life.
~ Rita Mae Brown

Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.
~ H. Jackson Brown

I don't think it is possible to give tips for finding one's voice; it's one of those things for which there aren't really any tricks or shortcuts, or even any advice that necessarily translates from writer to writer. All I can tell you is to write as much as possible.
~ Poppy Z. Brite

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

I think you must remember that a writer is a simple-minded person to begin with and go on that basis. He's not a great mind, he's not a great thinker, he's not a great philosopher, he's a story-teller.
~ Erskine Caldwell

The novelist is inviting the reader to watch a performance in his own brain.
~ George Buchanan

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
~ Edgar Rice Burroughs

The only living works are those which have drained much of the author's own life into them.
~ Samuel Butler

Writing is one of the few professions in which you can psychoanalyse yourself, get rid of hostilities and frustrations in public, and get paid for it .
~ Octavia Butler

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
~ Lord Byron

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.
~ Pearl S Buck

The words! I collected them in all shapes and sizes and hung them like bangles in my mind.
~ Hortense Calisher

There is only one trait that makes the writer. He is always watching.
~ Morley Callaghan

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
~ Albert Camus

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

If you follow your bliss you will find a path laid out before you that has been waiting for you all along and you will begin to live the life you ought to be living.
~ Joseph Campbell

Practise, practise, practise writing. Writing is a craft that requires both talent and acquired skills. You learn by doing, by making mistakes and then seeing where you went wrong.
~ Jeffrey A. Carver

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.
~ Orson Scott Card

Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any.
~ Orson Scott Card

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.
~ Dale Carnegie

Good writing is rewriting.
~ Truman Capote

The cat sat on the mat is not a story. The cat sat on the other cat's mat is a story.
~ John le Carre

Write from the soul, not from some notion what you think the marketplace wants. The market is fickle; the soul is eternal.
~ Jeffrey A. Carver

A novel should be an experience and convey an emotional truth rather than arguments.
~ Joyce Cary

If a book comes from the heart, it will continue to reach other hearts.
~ Thomas Carlyle

The pen is the tongue of the mind.
~ Miguel de Cervantes

Writing is a tool of transformation and can shine the light on the inside, dispelling darkness, taking us through external layers, bringing us closer to our souls.
~ Hillary Carlip

Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand -- a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods -- or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.
~ Willa Cather

The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.
~ Raymond Chandler

When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.
~ Raymond Chandler

For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle.
~ John Cheever

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

If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there.
~ Anton Chekhov

My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
~ Anton Chekhov

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.
~ Meg Chittenden

It is perfectly okay to write garbage - as long as you edit brilliantly.
~ C. J. Cherryh

The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes.
~ Agatha Christie

Broadly speaking, short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.
~ Winston Churchill

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.
~ Winston Churchill

The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.
~ Tom Clancy

Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.
~ Lawrence Clark Powell

Writing a book is a adventure. To begin with it is a toy and amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him out to the public.
~ Winston Churchill

Grammar is to a writer what anatomy is to a sculptor, or the scales to a musician. You may loathe it, it may bore you, but nothing will replace it, and once mastered it will support you like a rock.
~ B. J. Chute

Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world.
~ Tom Clancy

The good writer, the great writer, has what I have called the three S's: the power to see, to sense, and to say. That is, he is perceptive, he is feeling, and he has the power to express in language what he observes and reacts to.
~ Lawrence Clark Powell

Put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.
~ Colette

My task which I am trying to achieve is by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see. That--and no more, and it is everything.
~ Joseph Conrad

If writers were good businessmen, they'd have too much sense to be writers.
~ Irvin S. Cobb

An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.
~ Charles Horton Cooley

One should never criticize his own work except in a fresh and hopeful mood. The self-criticism of a tired mind is suicide.
~ Charles Horton Cooley

Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
~ Calvin Coolidge

No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. The world is not waiting with bated breath for your article or book. Whether or not you get a single word on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a choice -- your choice.
~ Beth Mende Conny

My task...is, by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel - it is, before all, to make you see. That - and no more - and it is everything.
~ Joseph Conrad

The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.
~ Robert Cormier

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
~ Cyril Connolly

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
~ Confucius

A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.
~ Joseph Conrad

What I adore is supreme professionalism. I'm bored by writers who can write only when it's raining.
~ Noel Coward

To be creative, you have to be wrong most of the time.
~ Joe Craig 

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

To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed.
~ Joan Didion

At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then--and only then--it is handed to you.
~ Annie Dillard

Good writing is essentially rewriting.
~ Roald Dahl

Writing counts.
~ Allyson Dickey

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.
~ Joan Didion

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
~ Joan Didion

Appealing workplaces are to be avoided. One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark.
~ Annie Dillard

All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.
~ Isak Dinesen

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
~ E.L. Doctorow

Writing is turning one's worst moments into money.
~ J. P. Donleavy

The act of composition is a series of discoveries.
~ E. L. Doctorow

Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.
~ E.L. Doctorow

For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
~ Catherine Drinker Bowen

I keep little notepads all over the place to write down ideas as soon as they strike, but the ones that fill up the quickest are always the ones at my nightstand.
~ Emily Logan Decens

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.
~ E. L. Doctorow

Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader-not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.
~ E.L. Doctorow

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

For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I'm surprised where the journey takes me.
~ Jack Dann

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
~ George Elliot

It’s not wise to violate the rules until you know how to observe them.
~ T. S. Eliot

No one put a gun to your head and ordered you to become a writer. One writes out of his own choice and must be prepared to take the rough spots along the road with a certain equanimity, though allowed some grinding of the teeth.
~ Stanley Ellin

Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.
~ Catherine Drinker Bowen

People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it.
~ Harlan Ellison

If you start with a bang, you won't end with a whimper.
~ T. S. Eliot

In my experience, the best creative work is never done when one is unhappy.
~ Albert Einstein

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
~ T. S. Eliot

I would never write about anyone who is not at the end of his rope.
~ Stanley Elkin

The writer is an explorer. Every step is an advance into new land.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

In good writing, words become one with things.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you - as if you haven't been told a million times already - that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching.
~ Harlan Ellison

For, it seems to me, the act of writing with serious intent involves enormous personal risk. It entails the ongoing courage for self-discovery. It means one will walk forever on the tightrope, with each new step presenting the possibility of learning a truth about oneself that is too terrible to bear.
~ Harlan Ellison

The good writer seems to be writing about himself, but has his eye always on that thread of the Universe which runs through himself and all things.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

Let the reader find that he cannot afford to omit any line of your writing because you you have omitted every word that he can spare.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The virtue of books is to be readable.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you wish to be a writer; write!
~ Epictetus

The desire to write grows with writing.
~ Erasmus

A writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.
~ William Faulkner

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

..the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself... alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the sweat and the agony.
~ William Faulkner

The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.
~ William Faulkner

I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it.
~ William Faulkner

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

Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.
~ William Feather

It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.
~ William Faulkner

Only amateurs say that they write for their own amusement. Writing is not an amusing occupation. It is a combination of ditch-digging, mountain-climbing, treadmill and childbirth... But amusing? Never.
~ Edna Ferber

Life can't ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer's lover until death--fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous constant.
~ Edna Ferber

Writing, I explained, was mainly an attempt to out-argue one's past; to present events in such a light that battles lost in life were either won on paper or held to a draw.
~ Jules Feifer

Often I think writing is a sheer paring away of oneself leaving always something thinner, barer, more meagre.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

You can't say, I won't write today because that excuse will extend into several days, then several months, then… you are not a writer anymore, just someone who dreams about being a writer.
~ Dorothy C. Fontana

How do I know what I think, until I see what I say?
~ E.M. Forster

No one should ever have to read a sentence twice because of the way it is put together.
~ Wilson Follett

A simple style is like white light. Although complex, it does not appear to be so.
~ Anatole France

Writing a novel is not merely going on a shopping expedition across the border to an unreal land: it is hours and years spent in the factories, the streets, the cathedrals of the imagination.
~ Janet Frame

The only certainty about writing and trying to be a writer is that it has to be done, not dreamed of or planned and never written, or talked about (the ego eventually falls apart like a soaked sponge), but simply written; it's a dreadful, awful fact that writing is like any other work.
~ Janet Frame

Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties.
~ Bonnie Friedman

The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict and conflict.
~ James Frey

Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.
~ Benjamin Franklin

All the fun is in how you say a thing.
~ Robert Frost

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.
~ Robert Frost

I like to use as few commas as possible so that sentences will go down in one swallow without touching the sides.
~ Pamela Frankau

You become a good writer just as you become a good joiner: by planing down your sentences.
~ Anatole France

The mere habit of writing, of constantly keeping at it, of never giving up, ultimately teaches you how to write.
~ Gabriel Fielding

Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Writers aren't exactly people.... they're a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I'll tell you a story.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Find the key emotion; this may be all you need know to find your short story.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

A writer wastes nothing.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
~ Gustave Flaubert

It's a delicious thing to write. To be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating.
~ Gustave Flaubert

An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.
~ Gustave Flaubert

Writing is a dog's life, but the only life worth living.
~ Gustave Flaubert

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
~ Gene Fowler

Writing is a struggle against silence.
~ Carlos Fuentes 

Writing only leads to more writing.
~ Sidonie Gabrielle

The Six Golden Rules of Writing: Read, read, read, and write, write, write.
~ Ernest Gaines

Make dialogue crackle with feelings not directly expressed.
~ John Gardner

Mastery is not something that strikes in an instant, like a thunderbolt, but a gathering power that moves steadily through time, like weather.
~ John Gardner

In nearly all good fiction, the basic - all but inescapable - plot form is this: A central character wants something, goes after it despite opposition, perhaps including his own doubts, and so arrives at a win, lose, or draw.
~ John Gardner

When you start, the world of publishing seems like a great cathedral citadel of talent, resisting attempts to let you inside. It isn't like that at all. It may be more difficult now, and take longer than when I started to write, but there's a great, empty warehouse out there looking for simple talent.
~ Alan Garner

A notepad by the bedside accounts for half the earnings of my livelihood. If it weren't for bedtime, half my novels would still be stuck at dock.
~ Ever Garrison

We read five words on the first page of a really good novel and we begin to forget that we are reading printed words on a page; we begin to see images.
~ John Gardner

Writing a novel is like heading out over the open sea in a small boat. It helps, if you have a plan and a course laid out.
~ John Gardner

A writer's voice is not character alone, it is not style alone; it is far more. A writer's voice line the stroke of an artist's brush- is the thumbprint of her whole person- her idea, wit, humor, passions, rhythms.
~ Patricia Lee Gauch

Mastery-not a full mental catalogue of the rules-must be the writer’s goal. He must get the art of fiction, in all its complexity-the whole tradition and all its technical options-down through the wrinkles and tricky wiring of his brain into his blood.
~ John Gardner

Voice is one of the most elusive qualities in any story. We recognize it when we hear it, but it’s hard consciously to create an authentic voice. Somehow voice seems to be the natural manifestation of all the narrative decisions we’ve made so far. We discover it more than we fabricate it.
~ Philip Gerard

The habits of craft, developed day in and day out over a working lifetime, create moments of astonishment, sublime and magical effects, precisely because the writer is not thinking overtly about making art.
~ Philip Gerard

But a writing project begins not just in doubt but also in faith-that if your passion is genuine, if you have mastered the elements of your craft, in the act of writing you will learn the rest of what you need to know in order to do justice to your subject.
~ Philip Gerard

The writer who cares more about words than about story - characters, action, setting, atmosphere - is unlikely to create a vivid and continuous dream; he gets in his own way too much; in his poetic drunkenness, he can't tell the cart - and its cargo - from the horse.
~ John Gardner

There are techniques-hundreds of them-that, like carpenter’s tricks, can be studied and taught.
~ John Gardner

The writer’s business is to make up convincing human beings and create for them basic situations and actions by means of which they come to know themselves and reveal themselves to the reader.
~ John Gardner

Recognize that the art of writing is immensely more difficult than the beginning writer may at first believe but in the end can be mastered by anyone willing to do the work.
~ John Gardner

It’s the sheer act of writing, more than anything else, that makes a writer.
~ John Gardner

The real importance of literary technique is that it helps the writer check himself and zero in on truth.
~ John Gardner

We create an interior ‘movie’ in the reader’s head through words on the page.
~ Philip Gerard

If you don't allow yourself the possibility of writing something very, very bad, it would be hard to write something very good.
~ Steven Galloway

Voice really depends on the answer to the question, Who is telling this story? . . . That will color your diction-and determine your metaphors, your sensibility.
~ Philip Gerard

There are days when the result is so bad that no fewer than five revisions are required. In contrast, when I'm greatly inspired, only four revisions are needed.
~John Kenneth Galbraith

If you are pointing out one of the things a story is about, then you are very probably right; if you are pointing out the only thing a story is about you are very probably wrong - even if you're the author.
~ Neil Gaiman

When writing a novel, that’s pretty much entirely what life turns into: House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.
~ Neil Gaiman

You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it.
~ Neil Gaiman

Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what's wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
~ Neil Gaiman

You need more than a beginning if you're going to start a book. If all you have is a beginning, then once you've written that beginning, you have nowhere to go.
~ Neil Gaiman

Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.
~ Neil Gaiman

The ideas aren't that important. Really they aren't. Everyone's got an idea for a book, a movie, a story, a TV series.
~ Neil Gaiman

You can take for granted that people know more or less what a street, a shop, a beach, a sky, an oak tree look like. Tell them what makes this one different.
~ Neil Gaiman

All fiction is a process of imagining: whatever you write, in whatever genre or medium, your task is to make things up convincingly and interestingly and new.
~ Neil Gaiman

You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.
~ William Gibson

What would there be in a story of happiness? Only what prepares it, only what destroys it can be told.
~ André Gide

Nouns and verbs are almost pure metal; adjectives are cheaper ore.
~ Marie Gilchrist

Every author in some degree portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.
~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Story is to human beings what the pearl is to the oyster.
~ Joseph Gold

What we want is a story that starts with an earthquake and builds to a climax.
~ Samuel Goldwyn

If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you.
~ Natalie Goldberg

Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.
~ Natalie Goldberg

Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you've made sense of one small area
~ Nadine Gordimer

By making writing a part of your daily routine--just like brushing your teeth--you'll discipline yourself to work as a writer instead of a hobbyist who only writes when there's some fun to be had.
~ Theresa Grant

Plotting is like sex. Plotting is about desire and satisfaction, anticipation and release. You have to arouse your reader's desire to know what happens, to unravel the mystery, to see good triumph. You have to sustain it, keep it warm, feed it, just a little bit, not too much at a time, as your story goes on. That's called suspense. It can bring desire to a frenzy, in which case you are in a good position to bring off a wonderful climax.
~ Colin Greenland

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 and fear which is inherent in a human situation.
~ Graham Greene

My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that's nice, too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.
~ Helen Hayes

Writing wasn’t easy to start. After I finally did it, I realized it was the most direct contact possible with the part of myself I thought I had lost, and which I constantly find new things from. Writing also includes the possibility of living many lives as well as living in any time or world possible. I can satisfy my enthusiasm for research, but jump like a calf outside the strict boundaries of science. I can speak about things that are important to me and somebody listens. It’s wonderful!
~ Virpi Hämeen-Anttila

Voice is the je ne sais quoi of spirited writing. It separates brochures and brilliance, memo and memoir, a ship’s log and The Old Man and the Sea. The best writers stamp prose with their own distinctive personality; their timbre and tone are as recognizable as their voices on the phone. To cultivate voice, you must listen for the music of language-the vernacular, the syntactic tics, the cadences.
~ Constance Hale

Writing is a crummy profession, but a good hobby.
~ Paavo Haavikko

Put weather in.
~ Joseph Hansen

Easy reading is damn hard writing.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Loafing is the most productive part of a writer's life.
~ James Norman Hall

If you tell me, it's an essay. If you show me, it's a story.
~ Barbara Greene

In a good play, everyone is in the right.
~ Fredrich Hebbel

The writer's genetic inheritance and her or his experiences shape the writer into a unique individual, and it is this uniqueness that is the writer's only stuff for sale.
~ James Gunn

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. . . .When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have e made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.
~ Ernest Hemingway

Good work doesn't happen with inspiration. It comes with constant, often tedious and deliberate effort. If your vision of a writer involves sitting in a cafe, sipping an aperitif with one's fellow geniuses, become a drunk. It's easier and far less exhausting.
~ William Hefferman

Beginning writers must appreciate the prerequisites if they hope to become writers. You pay your dues - which takes years.
~ Alex Haley

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

The essence of drama is that man cannot walk away from the consequences of his own deeds.
~ Harold Hayes

Writing is physical work. It's sweaty work. You just can't will yourself to become a good writer. You really have to work at it.
~ Will Haygood

I hate anything that occupies more space than it is worth... I hate to see a parcel of big words without anything in them.
~ William Hazlitt

The writer's intention hasn't anything to do with what he achieves. The intent to earn money or the intent to be famous or the intent to be great doesn't matter in the end. Just what comes out.
~ Lillian Hellman

Work every day. No matter what has happened the day or night before, get up and bite on the nail.
~ Ernest Hemingway

Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing.
~ Melinda Haynes

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