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  • Writer's pictureSteve Gamel

40 Popular Quotes About Writing

One of my favorite things to do when I need a little inspiration is to look up popular quotes about writing and being a writer. I scoured the internet and pulled together 40 of my favorites.

Most of these I found on popular sites like BrainyQuote and Goodreads.


“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” ― Ernest Hemingway

“Write without pay until somebody offers to pay.” ― Mark Twain

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." ― Emily Dickinson

"You cram these words into mine ears against the stomach of my sense." ― William Shakespeare

“10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer


Write more.

Write even more.

Write even more than that.

Write when you don’t want to.

Write when you do.

Write when you have something to say.

Write when you don’t.

Write every day.

Keep writing.” ― Brian Clark

"I try to leave out the parts that people skip." ― Elmore Leonard

"One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place ... something more will arise for later, something better." ― Annie Dillard

"The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart." ― Maya Angelou

"A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build toward it." ― Edgar Allan Poe

"Improve every opportunity to express yourself in writing as if it were your last." ― Henry David Thoreau

“Tell your story. Don't try and tell the stories that other people can tell. Any starting writer starts out with other people's voices. But as quickly as you can start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there will always be better writers than you and there will always be smarter writers than you, but you are the only you.” ― Neil Gaiman

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power." ― Toni Morrison

“Make it so good and so clear that it doesn't need any further explanation.” ― Shel Silverstein

"Never use a long word where a short one will do." ― George Orwell

"Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave into endless requests to have 'essential' and 'long overdue' meetings on those days." ― J.K. Rowling

"Every sentence must do one of two things – reveal character or advance the action." ― Kurt Vonnegut

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. ...this a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.” ― Stephen King

“Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay.” ― Susan Sontag

"I can always live by my pen." ― Jane Austen

"You don't write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid's burnt socks lying in the road." ― Richard Price

Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window." – William Faulkner

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” – Henry David Thoreau

“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.” – William Carlos Williams

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." – Benjamin Franklin

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."– Ernest Hemingway

"It ain't whatcha write, it's the way atcha write it." – Jack Kerouac, WD

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." – William Wordsworth

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

"A man's grammar, like Caesar's wife, should not only be pure, but above suspicion of impurity." – Edgar Allan Poe

"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

"The scariest moment is always just before you start." – Stephen King

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

"This is how you do it: sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." – Neil Gaiman

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

"And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for a while is just bliss." – J.K. Rowling

"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on." – Louis L'Amour

“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, WD

"I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done." – Steven Wright

“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” – Robert Benchley

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Thanks for reading!

*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.

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