Quotes about Writing: Get Your Inspiration Flowing

The mind of a genius is a mystical place. With these quotes about writing and all it involves, we can, in some way, experience some of the feelings a writer does when he writes.

Famous quotes on the need to write

What things there are to write, if one could only write them! My mind is full of gleaming thought; gay moods and mysterious, moth-like meditations hover in my imagination, fanning their painted wings. But always the rarest, those streaked with azure and the deepest crimson, flutter away beyond my reach. ~ Logan Pearsall Smith

So you want to write? It doesn’t go smoothly? Guess what…

every writer i know has trouble writing

Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~ Joseph Heller

I don’t really have any advice, other than to say it’s the most appallingly difficult thing I’ve ever tried to do and I wish I had a better idea of how to do it. In my experience what you end up with is the by-product of your failure to achieve what you set out to do. It may turn out OK, but it wasn’t what you meant and you’ve no idea how you got there. ~Douglas Adams

But there is one thing harder than writing. It is not writing when you feel you have a story to tell.

there is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you. ~ Maya Angelou

I’d finally reached a point where the prospect of not writing a book was more awful than the one of writing a book that sucked…I didn’t know if people would think my book was good or bad or horrible or beautiful and I didn’t care. I’d finally been able to give it because I’d let go of all the grandiose ideas I’d once had about myself and my writing—so talented! so young! I’d stopped being grandiose. I’d lowered myself to the notion that the absolute only thing that mattered was getting that extrabeatingheart out of my chest. Which meant I had to write my book. My very possibly mediocre book. My very possibly never-going-to-be-published book. My absolutely no-where-in-league-with-the-writers-I’d-admired-so-much-that-I-practically-memorized-their-sentences book. It was only then, when I humbly surrendered, that I was able to do the work I needed to do. ~ Cheryl Strayed

When you stop thinking of the reception your work will encounter, you know you are ready to do it. And once you get started with work, you will see that it took all your life experiences to take you to the very special moment of copying your ideas in a book.

When I was done writing it, I understood that things happened just as they were meant to. That I couldn’t have written my book before I did. I simply wasn’t capable of doing so, either as a writer or a person. To get to the point I had to get to write my first book, I had to do everything I did in my twenties. I had to write a lot of sentences that never turned into anything and stories that never miraculously formed a novel. I had to read voraciously and compose exhaustive entries in my journals. I had to waste time and grieve my mother and come to terms with my childhood and have stupid and sweet and scandalous sexual relationships and grow up. ~ Cheryl Strayed

And then comes the act of creation… Time to pour your very being inside the pages…

Those who have children can relate: there comes a time for a writer when she has to let her book go into the world, not knowing what’s in store. Just like a child, it might be labeled, misinterpreted, put into the wrong class. It could end up in places its creator never dreamed it would. Or it might be understood, praised and cherished by those its creators never dreamed would even encounter it. ~ Sara Wildberger

Sometimes you feel you are the creator of the work. Sometimes it seems like it was the voice from above talking through you.

Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one. ~ Salman Rushdie

Whatever coaxes us out of hiding, to write, record, and express, is a revolutionary act. It says that we believe our lives count.Sark

So you should definitely dare to do it!

Quotes on the drive that get’s you writing

Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Writing is more than anything a compulsion, like some people wash their hands thirty times a day for fear of awful consequences if they do not. It pays a whole lot better than this type of compulsion, but it is no more heroic. ~ Julie Burchill

i write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still quote

I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still. ~ Sylvia Plath

If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad. As to that regular, uninterrupted love of writing … I do not understand it. I feel it as a torture, which I must get rid of, but never as a pleasure. ~ George Gordon Byron

But let’s look beyond the compulsion and take a walk on the bright side… a writer can get the best of both worlds – fame and anonymity. He knows he is famous, and still his face can pass unrecognized.

Writers get exactly the right amount of fame: just enough to get a good table in a restaurant but not enough so that people are constantly interrupting you while you’re eating dinner. ~ Fran Lebowitz

it is not a bad idea to get in the habit of writing down ones thoughts it saves one having to bother anyone with them

It’s not a bad idea to get in the habit of writing down one’s thoughts. It saves one having to bother anyone with them. ~ Isable Colegate

Sometimes people talk to vent. It is way better to keep a journal instead.

Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable. ~ Francis Bacon

Random writing can turn out to be of value. It can have a therapeutical effect and it can also be something that deserves an audience. Still, for professional writing, one needs some discipline.

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke. ~ Arthur Polotnik

Charles Bukowski didn’t think one should push oneself to writing. The only time when one should stick to writing is when he has to do it! Writers must write or be damned!

As the part of his poem says:

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.

unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.

Winston Churchill thinks very much the same:

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.

The movie Factotum, that tells the story of Bukowski has this quote I love:

If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs, and maybe your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance. Of how much you really want to do it. And you’ll do it, despite rejection in the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire.

Some may say that whatever you do, you should go all the way. When it comes to writing, if you give all of yourself, you might end up homeless (it’s good if you still keep you laptop and Internet connection), you may end up rejected (you sure will face some rejection), but the fire you feel when writing will keep you alive.

Maybe you won’t be able to survive. Maybe you won’t be able to nourish yourself if you stick to writing, and do nothing else. But as long as you live you’ll feel a blaze with desire to put all your angels and demons working for you.

Writing means creating the world. And that’s a godlike deed. Indeed.

Quotes on the craft of writing

Many professors believe that, somehow, we can tell what the artist was thinking and what they meant. For me that was an utter lie. We have no idea how one felt at that particular moment.

And whoever has written any single story or a poem, knows that it all just pours out. Otherwise it’s not art. So forget about figuring out what was in the artist’s head. Just enjoy their writing. Or enjoy writing yourself.

there is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dissect out it continues and is always valid

There is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dissect out. It continues and is always valid. ~ Ernest Hemingway

The same applies to great writers. No matter how much one opens up, he remains a mystery.

A man’s goal in everything is to be invisible to others (defense), and there are but two means to this end: absolute reserve and total openness. A writer is the latter. We know all and nothing about him. That is why, after his death, we try so intently (with the same uncontrollable greed as in glancing at someone else’s sheet of paper) to establish just who he was—letters, memoirs, medical records—and have no success. This man who lived so openly, so on display, so in the public eye, turns out to have been the most secretive, the most invisible. He has carried his secret to the grave. For this to be true, writers must be geniuses, and hacks crystal-pure and sincere. ~ Andrei Bitov

A writer can feel misunderstood. And sometimes he likes it that way.

One does not only wish to be understood when one writes; one wishes just as surely not to be understood. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Before you start writing, remember this:

writing is easy just put a sheet of paper in the typewriter and start bleeding

Writing is easy. Just put a sheet of paper in the typewriter and start bleeding. ~ Thomas Wolfe

Now it’s even easier. You can do the same over your laptop.

The three things that help writing the most are living, writing, and reading. In that order. ~ Hisham Matar

Writers need their imagination. But more than that, they need to know about life. Even science-fiction writing asks for life knowledge.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~ Anaïs Nin

Writing is the way to create life using words. Writing is the way to recreate dialogues. But writing is also the way to describe all the unsaid words, all the silences, all the pains you are not able to tell. Writing is the way to say the obvious. Great writing is the way to express what you and only you can give to this world.

If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing. ~ Kingsley Amis

Your writing is no good if it doesn’t stir emotions. And not everyone will like it. If your book is about to create any interest, it will have to have fans and those that don’t find it great.

In order to make others feel something, you need to feel it when you write it.

i dont think you get to good writing unless you expose yourself and your feelings

I don’t think you get to good writing unless you expose yourself and your feelings. ~ Judy Collins

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart… ~ William Wordsworth

Writing may be a lonely job.

Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking. ~ Jessamyn West

Very few people can write in a crowd. This is a very solitary occupation. I have known people more talented than me who never made it. And the primary reason was always that they couldn’t stand to be alone for several hours a day. Any writer worth anything has mastered the art. The art of solitude. ~ Tom Robbins

writing is utter solitude the descent into the cold abyss of oneself

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. ~ Franz Kafka

Writing can also take you to worlds where you can never be lonely.

They ask me if I were on a desert island and knew nobody would ever see what I wrote, would I go on writing. My answer is most emphatically yes, I would go on writing for company. ~ William S. Burroughs

If you are a writer you locate yourself behind a wall of silence and, no matter what you are doing, driving a car or walking or doing housework… you can still be writing, because you have that space. ~ Joyce Carol Oates

Writing follows you wherever you go, and it can also isolate you from others. You can be somewhere, and at the same time just be in your head writing, or planning to write.

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make. ~ Truman Capote

It’s not about the content, it’s about the way you say it. The most exciting adventure can be told in a boring way. A very simple story can be turned into an exciting novel, if one knows how to write it in a compelling way.

A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end … but not necessarily in that order. ~ Jean Luc Godard

There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn’t because the book is not there and worth being written—it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself. ~ Mark Twain

You can have a story inside of you, but you need to find the right way to express it. The quote above says there’s only one right form for each story. I’m not sure about that. What I’m sure about is that there are many ways to get to the right form (or one of the right forms) but no one can instruct you clearly on how to do it just right. There’s no recipe you have to follow. And there’s no winning formula. No guidelines can guarantee your success.

Writing can come naturally to some. Still, when it comes to good writing, this is true:

 Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Writing is a form of madness in a way

We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and once in retrospection. ~ Anaïs Nin.

It’s true that when I live I often write in my head. And once I write I live again.We write to taste life twice

And to write is to sow and to reap at the same time. ~ Elie Wiesel

You give and you get at the same time when you create. Writing can put you in the perfect state of mind, when time and space get erased. It’s only you and ecstatic focus.But for some people, writing, creating another world is just an escape from an unsatisfactory reality.

Writing let me escape… It let me escape the insistent tug of my family, and its ongoing misery. Sitting in front of the computer, with the screen blank and the cursor blinking, was the best escape I knew. And there was plenty to escape from. ~ Jennifer Weiner

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~ Ray Bradbury

I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own like a climate, a country, an atmosphere where I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. ~ Anaïs Nin

The world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. ~ Gloria E. Anzaldua

Many believe that in order to write well, one needs to suffer a lot.

Write hard and clear about what hurts. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Some believe that writing is so demanding that you need to be crazy to do it. Some believe that in order to write well, you need to be crazy, literally.

The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis, and we’d have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads. ~ William Styron

You can’t be a proper writer without a touch of madness, can you? ~ Kate Winslet, in Quills

Writing is seen as a tool for clearing up one’s mind.

Writing works better at cleaning up the mess than doing laundry or making beds. ~ Linda Gray Sexton

One writes not to please the audience, but just to release himself.

In a very real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself; to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratifications, is a curious anticlimax. ~ Alfred Kazin

Writing is the way to organize life by putting it into a story. It’s finding the meaning in chaos.

You digest and absorb your life by turning it into stories … Other events—the ones you can’t digest—they poison you. Those worst parts of your life, those moments you can’t talk about, they rot you from the inside out. … But the stories that you can digest, that you can tell—you can take control of those past moments. You can shape them, craft them. Master them. And use them to your own good. Those stories as important as food. Those are stories you can use to make people laugh or cry or sick. Or scared. To make people feel the way you felt. To help exhaust that past moment for them and for you. Until that moment is dead. Consumed. Digested. Absorbed. ~ Chuck Palahniuk

Some people try to escape their thinking, but if you are brave to face reality and your inner world, writing is a great tool.

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~ Norbet Platt

Sometimes the writer gets surprised with what comes out. That’s the pleasure of revelation.

I sometimes need to write things which I cannot completely control but which therefore prove that what is in me is stronger than I am. ~ Albert Camus

I hope you found what you were looking for when you came across this article. Writing is something only a writer knows about, and can fully feel in his heart. Reading some of the wise words the greats have shared with us, we can get an idea about how creating masterpieces feels. Do you have any quotes you would like to include here? If so, write them down in the comments below.

About the author


Writer, talker, walker, joker. Contradictory, capricious, postmodern fragmented, direct, too direct sometimes, playful, holding no grudges and regrets. If you can't find her, she's somewhere chasing summer around the world.

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