Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Best Writing Quotes

In my novel the protagonist's mom likes to use quotes to get express herself; today I'm following her lead and sharing a few quotes with you. The bold quotes are a some of the ones that inspire, amuse, or encourage me in this tumultuous writing journey. I hope you find one, or more, that does the same for you.

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
—Philip Roth

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
—Stephen King

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
—Allen Ginsberg 

“Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”
—William S. Burroughs

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

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
—George Orwell

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”
—Jack Kerouac 

“Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.”
—Hunter S. Thompson

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“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

“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”
—Peter Handke

“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.”
—John Updike 

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
—Samuel Johnson

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King 

“Style means the right word. The rest matters little.”
—Jules Renard

“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 than if I took the day off.”
—Lawrence Block

“Don’t expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.”
—Leslie Gordon Barnard 

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
—Harper Lee

“Geniuses can be scintillating and geniuses can be somber, but it’s that inescapable sorrowful depth that shines through—originality.”
—Jack Kerouac

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”
—Ray Bradbury

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
—Elmore Leonard

“A book is simply the container of an idea—like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.”
—Angela Carter

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
—Mark Twain


What's your best writing quote?

24 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

So to sum it up: Writing is like hell that requires a lot of rewrites. :D

I love reading author writing quotes.

Jo said...

I wonder what compels authors to write it is such an arduous and often thankless job.

Martina at Adventures in YA Publishing said...

OOOH, so many good ones. I have many favorites, but one that came to mind because of something I was reading this morning is this one from Robert Frost:

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader."

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

So many good ones! I love the Mark Twain quote about the lightning and the lightning bug. :)

Diego Green said...

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

I think this one hit me the hardest. It's either discouraging or an amazing encouragement depending on whether or not you truly are a lover of the craft.

Julie Flanders said...

I love quotes and some of these are new to me. Love them! Thanks for sharing. :)

Melissa said...

“Don’t expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.”
—Leslie Gordon Barnard

Ouch. Hurts to read, but it's true.

Great list! :)

nutschell said...

I love this Jenn! Definitely needed the inspiration:)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love all those quotes. You gave me some inspiration to get moving on the WIP.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

A book is like a bottle. I really like that one.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Stina, your comment made me laugh out loud. It was either that or cry at the truth in that statement.

Jo, I think that's best answered by another quote: We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.
W. Somerset Maugham

Martina, that is a great quote! Leave it to Mr. Frost to say it so eloquently.

Madeline, as you can see, that is a favorite of mine, too.

I agree, Diego. To think that the craft will never be a mastered leaves a bit of heaviness in my soul.

Julie, I'm glad you enjoyed them.

Thank you, Melissa. Quite a few of these hit me a little harder than I would have liked.

Nutschell and Susan, I'm glad the quotes inspired you. A little inspiration goes a long way in this lonely writing world.

L. Diane, I love that one, too. It was the first time I'd seen it and I've seen quite a few.

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

I haven't got a writing quote but my favourite quote is:
Today's gratitude buys you tomorrows happiness.


Yvonne.

Jo said...

This is my favourite quote of all time, nothing to do with writing but... Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons, for you are small crunchy and good with ketchup.

Shelly Arkon said...

I love my tea. Hot or iced. Sweetend with stevia. I especially love Jasmine Tea. I also love my Godiva chocolate pieces. Love a good crisp Gala apple and cheese. Any kind of cheese. Love grilled chicken and steaks. Love all green salads.

Oh yeah, I could go on and on about food myself.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Shelly Arkon said...

Excellent quotes. OOps! My last comment was meant for your ice tea post.

Trying to catch up today.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Sarah Allen said...

Freaking love this :) I love the King one especially.

Sarah Allen
(From Sarah, With Joy)

Elise Fallson said...

I think Stina summed it up pretty well! Loved these quotes, thanks for sharing. (:

Nicole said...

I just kept saying, "Yes. Yes, that!" after each one. Great collection!

Lexa Cain said...

It's great to see so many differing views on writing. It's also nice to know that there's no "right" way to think or do in this biz. It's all subjective.
Great post! :-)

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I loved the quotes! Thanks for them.

Cherie Reich said...

Love all the writing quotes!

Marcia said...

There are SO many good ones.

Lynda R Young said...

I think my favourite is this one: “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” —Larry L. King

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Yvonne, that's a great quote, too.

Hahahaha, Jo, love it!

Shelly, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments no matter where they post.

Sarah, King is the master!

Elise, glad you enjoyed them.

Nicole, I agree. It was hard not to bold them all as favorites.

Lexa, yes, writing is very subjective. I guess that's good. It means there is a place for all of us.

You are welcome, C. Lee . I'm delighted you enjoyed them.

Thanks, Cherie!

Marcia, yes, there are many good ones here. It was hard to pick favorites.

Lynda, That one was an *ouch* one for me. I always want a shortcut.

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