Great Writing Quotes–With Fabulous Commentary and Pics!
“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” ~E.L. Doctorow
Although it worries my mother when I say I’m talking amongst myselves….
*Image of me writing surrounded by grandbabies.
“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.” ~Franz Kafka
Well that’s cheery, Franz, and why writers surround themselves with cats, keep pouring those heartening cups of coffee or hot tea, dive into chocolate, light candles, play our favorite music… sneak back online. Again.
I especially like this quote: “There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ~W. Somerset Maugham English dramatist & novelist (1874 – 1965)
“A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.” ~Charles Peguy
I compare capturing just the right word to netting butterflies before they soar away. Words flee my thoughts just as swiftly if I don’t snag them.
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~Sylvia Plath
Amen to this Sylvia.
Although I must add there’s a difference between courage and writing about the worst life has to offer and calling it art.
“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~Toni Morrison
I actually do, do this in my writing.
“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.” ~Sharon O’Brien
This is true as long as I am writing what I WANT. Not what I think may sell. And considering my sales of late, I must be in the minority about what’s popular.
“Publication – is the auction of the Mind of Man.” ~Emily Dickinson
And it’s going too cheap these days. Not all books can sell for .99 on kindle or be free. Assuming the author wants to eat.
“Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” ~Mark Twain
I love Mark Twain, who, BTW, is an ancestor on my father’s side.
“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” ~James Michener
Now, it’s the delete key on my laptop, but I remember the days of handwriting everything in ink and using whiteout until the pages were stiff with the stuff, then I’d crumple and throw until a pile accumulated around me and my faithful furry writing companions, both feline and canine. As I write this there’s a small dog snoozing on one side, a large tabby purring under my arm and a playful kitten trying to get a rise out of someone. To no avail.
Trust Wordsworth to come up with something this lovely and poetic. And to him I reply, I do!
“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” ~Vladimir Nabakov
What an optimist. Face it, to most writers blank pages are scary. Sit there leering at us and must be filled with something, anything, as fast as possible. One can always edit something, but not nothing.
And similarly a quote by James Thurber: “Don’t get it right, just get it written.”
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
He sure knew what he was talking about.
“The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it.” ~Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895
Heck, I’ve got a number of those floating around. Not terribly marketable in that form though.
A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer. ~Karl Kraus
Yes, there’s a lot of Yoda in writers. We’re all striving to be Jedi’s.
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by size, do you?” ~Yoda
“Do, or do not. There is no try.” ~Yoda
And very apt for writing as well as training to be a Jedi.
“Writing is my time machine, takes me to the precise time and place I belong.” ~Jeb Dickerson, www.howtomatter.com
“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” ~Peter De Vries
Or all the promo he probably didn’t have to deal with.
“A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote.” ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
Ah yes, there are times I wonder if the reviewer read the same book I wrote. Other times, I delight that they totally got my story.
“I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.” ~English Professor (Name Unknown), Ohio University
This could have been said of me who got a D in a college class called The Novel.
“Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.” ~T.S. Eliot
“For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle.” ~John Cheever
And all that other good stuff, seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling…the five senses. I also like to include the sixth.
“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” ~Elmore Leonard
Oh gosh, me too. Most people are probably skipping this post.
Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable. ~Francis Bacon
And this, dear readers, is the essence of my writing. I am not a PLOTTER.
“Every writer I know has trouble writing.” ~Joseph Heller
“Writer’s block is a disease for which there is no cure, only respite.” ~Terri Guillemets
“A good style should show no signs of effort. What is written should seem a happy accident.” ~W. Somerset Maugham, Summing Up, 1938
With these quotes I am in utter agreement.
“When you are describing, A shape, or sound, or tint; Don’t state the matter plainly, But put it in a hint; And learn to look at all things, With a sort of mental squint.” ~Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)
I suppose it’s sour grapes to point out that Carroll was an opium addict. However, opium alone cannot make you brilliant so I still have to give him that.
“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” ~Lord Byron
Many writers are slightly mad. I have a theory about writers, those who are on medication and those who should be. I am.