Quotes About Writing

Quotes tagged as "writing" (showing 1,831-1,860 of 3,000)
Brenda Ueland
“Don't always be appraising yourself, wondering if you are better or worse than other writers. "I will not Reason and Compare," said Blake; "my business is to Create." Besides, since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of Time, you are incomparable. ”
Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Susan Sontag
“If I thought that what I'm doing when I write is expressing myself, I'd junk the typewriter. Writing is a much more complicated activity that that.”
Susan Sontag

Brenda Ueland
“Work freely and rollickingly as though you were talking to a friend who loves you. Mentally (at least three or four times a day) thumb your nose at all know-it-alls, jeerers, critics, doubters.”
Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Novalis
“One can not understand language because language cannot understand itself; does not want to understand”
Novalis

Julian Barnes
“If the writer were more like a reader, he’d be a reader, not a writer. It’s as uncomplicated as that.”
Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot

Barack Obama
“How does the saying go? When two locusts fight, it is always the crow that feasts.'
Is that a Luo expression?' I asked. Sayid's face broke into a bashful smile.
We have a similar expression in Luo,' he said, 'but actually I must admit that I read this particular expression in a book by Chinua Achebe. The Nigerian writer. I like his books very much. He speaks the truth about Africa's predicament. the Nigerian, the Kenya - it is the same. We share more than divides us.”
Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Marianne Moore
“Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.”
Marianne Moore

Charles Baxter
“When I'm writing, I'm waiting to see somebody, and I'm waiting to hear them. It's almost like conjuring spirits out of the air, using your own imaginative instability.”
Charles Baxter

H.L. Mencken
“There is in writing the constant joy of sudden discovery, of happy accident.”
H.L. Mencken

William Zinsser
“I almost always urge people to write in the first person. Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.”
William Zinsser

Gustave Flaubert
“The writer must wade into life as into the sea, but only up to the navel.”
Gustave Flaubert

David Hare
“The act of writing is the act of discovering what you believe.”
David Hare

George Bernard Shaw
“In literature the ambition of the novice is to acquire the literary language; the struggle of the adept is to get rid of it.”
George Bernard Shaw

Eudora Welty
“Since we must and do write each our own way, we may during actual writing get more lasting instruction not from another's work, whatever its blessings, however better it is than ours, but from our own poor scratched-over pages. For these we can hold up to life. That is, we are born with a mind and heart to hold each page up to, and to ask: is it valid?”
Eudora Welty, On Writing

Roland Smith
“When you do your research write down whatever interests you. Whatever stimulates your imagination. Whatever seems important. A story is built like a stone wall. Not all the stones will fit. Some will have to be discarded. Some broken and reshaped. When you finish the wall it may not look exactly like the wall you envisioned, but it will keep the livestock in and the predators out. (pg. 144)”
Roland Smith, Peak

Lytton Strachey
“A writer’s promise is like a tiger’s smile”
Lytton Strachey

Roland Smith
“...what makes a story unique is not necessarily the information in the story but what the writer chooses to put in or leave out.(pg. 146-147)”
Roland Smith, Peak

Richard Ford
“It is no loss to mankind when one writer decides to call it a day. When a
tree falls in the forest, who cares but the monkeys?”
Richard Ford, The Sportswriter

Annie Dillard
“For writing a first draft requires from the writer a peculiar internal state which ordinary life does not induce.
... how to set yourself spinning?”
Annie Dillard

S.A.R.K.
“Inside" Children

Inside each of us are the children we were at each developmental stage.

With regard to our creative dreams, these inside children can prevent us from living them by "acting out" in order to try to get our attention. Your inner 5-year-old is not going to patiently wait as you learn intricate metalworking techniques or study impressionist painting. Yet, your inner 10-year-old may be perfectly suited to learn and observe new skills.

What's really needed is parenting of these inside children so that we bring them to age-appropriate activities.”
S.A.R.K.

Gustave Flaubert
“There comes a point at which you stop writing and think all the more”
Gustave Flaubert, November

Joyce Carol Oates
“I'm drawn to write about upstate New York in the way in which a dreamer might have recurring dreams. My childhood and girlhood were spent in upstate New York, in the country north of Buffalo and West of Rochester. So this part of New York state is very familiar to me and, with its economic difficulties, has become emblematic of much of American life.”
Joyce Carol Oates

Paul Quarrington
“I had another reason for seeking Him, for trying to espy His face, a professional one. God and literature are conflated in my mind. Why this is, I’m not sure. Perhaps because great books seem heavensent. Perhaps because I know that each nove is a puny but very valiant attempt at godlike behavior. Perhaps because there is no difference between the finest poetry and most transcendent mysticism. Perhaps because writers like Thomas Merton, who are able to enter the realm of the spirit and come away with fine, lucid prose. Perhaps because of more secular writers, like John Steinbeck, whose every passage, it seems to me, peals with religiousity and faith. It once occured to me that literature — all art really — is either talking to people about God, or talking to God about people.”
Paul Quarrington, The Boy on the Back of the Turtle: Seeking God, Quince Marmelade, and the Fabled Albatross

Thomas Ligotti
“The ‘experimental’ writer, then, is simply following the story’s commands to the best of his human ability. The writer is not the story, the story is the story. See? Sometimes this is very hard to accept and sometimes too easy. On the one hand, there’s the writer who can’t face his fate: that the telling of a story has nothing at all to do with him; on the other hand, there’s the one who faces it too well: that the telling of the story has nothing at all to do with him”
Thomas Ligotti

Mark Vonnegut
“Writing was a spiritual exercise for my father, the only thing he really believed in.”
Mark Vonnegut, Armageddon in Retrospect

Roberto Bolaño
“Another time, talking about his books, the baroness confessed that she had never bothered to read any of them, because she hardly ever read 'difficult' or 'dark' novels like the ones he wrote. With the years, too, this habit had grown entrenched, and once she turned seventy the scope of her reading was restricted to fashion or news magazines.”
Roberto Bolaño, 2666

Nick Hornby
“I don't mind nothing happening in a book, but nothing happening in a phony way--characters saying things people never say, doing jobs that don't fit, the whole works--is simply asking too much of a reader. Something happening in a phony way must beat nothing happening in a phony way every time, right? I mean, you could prove that, mathematically, in an equation, and you can't often apply science to literature.”
Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

Paulette Jiles
“Then took the quilt out of its linen wrapper for the pleasure of the brilliant colors and the feel of the velvet. The needlework was very fine and regular. Adair hated needlework and she could not imagine sitting and stitching the fine crow’s-foot seams.
Writing was the same, the pinching of thoughts into marks on paper and trying to keep your cursive legible, trying to think of the next thing to say and then behind you on several sheets of paper you find you have left permanent tracks, a trail, upon which anybody could follow you. Stalking you through your deep woods of private thought.

Paulette Jiles, Enemy Women

Jincy Willett
“(N)ot writing was hard work, almost as hard as writing.”
Jincy Willett, The Writing Class

William Faulkner
“And George Farr had the town, the earth, the world to himself and his sorrow. Music came faint as a troubling rumor beneath the spring night, sweetened by distance: a longing knowing no ease. (Oh God, oh God!)
At last George Farr gave up trying to see her. He had 'phoned vainly and time after time, at last the telephone became the end in place of the means: he had forgotten why he wanted to reach her. Finally he told himself that he hated her, that he would go away; finally he was going to as much pains to avoid her as he had been to see her. So he slunk about the streets like a criminal, avoiding her, feeling his his very heart stop when he did occasionally see her unmistakable body from a distance. And at night he lay sleepless and writhing to think of her, then to rise and don a few garments and walk past her darkened house, gazing in slow misery at the room in which he knew she lay, soft and warm, in intimate slumber, then to return to home and bed to dream of her brokenly.”
William Faulkner, Soldiers' Pay

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