Finding writing inspiration is easy, especially when you have a pool to draw from that includes the minds of great writers. I collect quotes of all kinds, but especially writer quotes (from books on writing, the internet, and books about quotes) and I use them all the time. When I’m preparing a writing course I can always find quotes for writers to illustrate specific points, no matter what I need…conceptual, specific, inspirational, funny, and everything in between!
When I undertook writing my first book, my “office” was in the barely-finished attic of our 70-year old house in Oak Park. It was a perfect place to write: expansive, out of the way, not really furnished so I felt free to spread chapters and piles of papers along the floor. The décor was fairly basic (it was an attic after all) and the paneled ceiling, just a little over my height, slanted down from a point at the top. I had to hunch over to get to my desk and be careful when I stood so I wouldn’t brain myself.
I decided to post some inspirational writer quotes on that slanted ceiling. There was nothing better than starting the day with wisdom from those writers whose works I admired—and others I hadn’t yet read, but their words echoed with such truth. Every time I came across a brilliant quote for writers, I’d print it out and tape it up on my slanted wall-ceiling. Surrounded by such insight was a wonderful place to write, and many times those voices came alive to urge me on when writing seemed daunting. They never let me quit, and so I didn’t.
Nowadays I have a “real” room for my writing office, including bulletin boards where I tack up all sorts of things: my calendar, comic strips about writing, appointment cards. But the most important are the quotes I’ve posted from writers. One of these days I’m going to make writer quotes wallpaper.
Here are some of my favorite quotes, most from writers, all great quotes for writers. Print any that inspire you and place them somewhere you will see them on a daily basis. Better yet, start surfing the internet and collect them for yourself.
There are quote-sites everywhere (look to the end of this post for some links) and you can find hundreds of timeless and true words to help you on your writing journey, and of course, in life. Who doesn’t need a cheering section? And you’ll see with this crew, you can have pure brilliance on your side.
Quotes for Writers to KeepYou Sane During Your Writing Journey
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people can always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” —Mark Twain
“When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God’s business.” —Flannery O’Connor
“Status, worry and comparison are ways to madness, not victory.” —James Scott Bell
“Have fun, entertain yourself with your work, make yourself laugh and cry with your own stories, make yourself shiver in suspense along with your characters. If you can do that, then you will most likely find a large audience; but even if a large audience is never found, you’ll have a happy life.” —Dean Koontz
Quotes for Writers All-Around Great Advice
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” —Stephen King
“A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation: ‘As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It’s not as wide as you think.’” —Joseph Campbell
“As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.” —Katharine Hepburn
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain
“Action is the antidote to despair.” —Joan Baez
“Everything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And later on you can use it in some story.” —Tapani Bagge
Quotes for Writers for Ideas and Imagination
“Writing is a strange synthesis between the two parts of your mind: the analytical side and the side that knows nothing at all, and you have to allow the dreaming side free rein.” —Rose Tremain
“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
“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
“Writing is just having a sheet of paper, a pen and not a shadow of an idea of what you are going to say.” —Francoise Sagan
“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them, to the impossible.” —Arthur C. Clarke
Quotes for Writers to Help You Get to Work!
“The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write and keep on writing.” —Ken MacLeod
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” —Jack London
“Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.” —Ray Bradbury
“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
“We must learn to trust that creativity is indeed endless, inexhaustible, and easily accessible, once we learn work habits that keep us from getting in its way.” —Susan Shaw
“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
Quotes for Writers When You Need a Good Laugh
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” —Dorothy Parker
“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” —Mark Twain
“If you want to write fiction, the best thing you can do is take two aspirins, lie down in a dark room, and wait for the feeling to pass. If it persists, you probably ought to write a novel.” —Lawrence Block
“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” —Gene Fowler
“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.” —Sidney Sheldon
“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” —Peter de Vries
And In Case These Aren’t Enough (and you need to wallpaper your space) A Few Links to Great Quotes