Since NaNoWriMo officially kicks off on Friday, I figured it would be in my best interest now to collect quotes on writing to refer to when I need some inspiration or motivation. Here is a compiled list of all the writing quotes that I like, which hopefully will benefit someone else too:
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
“Don’t wait to know what happens. Write through to see what happens. Then write through again the make sure that what happens believable, and earned, then again to make sure it flows smoothly, and is clear and involves all the senses. Then again to make sure there are no barbarisms or tics. Then again to feel your way through one more time, dreaming. ”
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
Octavia E. Butler:
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.”
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”
“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”
“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”
“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you. Tarantino – you can criticize everything that Quentin does – but nobody writes Tarantino stuff like Tarantino. He is the best Tarantino writer there is, and that was actually the thing that people responded to – they’re going ‘this is an individual writing with his own point of view. There are better writers than me out there, there are smarter writers, there are people who can plot better – there are all those kinds of things, but there’s nobody who can write a Neil Gaiman story like I can.”
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
“The first draft of anything is shit.”
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”
“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”
“Being an author means, almost by definition, that you make up characters and then complicate their lives. That’s it, really. You make up characters and give them problem after problem after problem.”
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”
“You can make anything by writing.”
“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”
“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with 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.”
“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.”
“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends) ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self confident. The real one is scared to death.”
“When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
“The hard part of writing isn’t the writing; it’s the thinking. You can solve most of your writing problems if you stop after every sentence and ask: What does the reader need to know next?”
“Rewriting is the essence of writing well – where the game is won or lost.”
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself I am simply shoveling sand into a box so later I can build castles.” via markgoodson303
tips from John Steinbeck:
1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.
3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.
4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.
5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.
6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.
Thanks to Carlyn for helping me compile the list. If anyone has qoutes they want to share, please leave it below!
~ C M VanHaaren