A while back, I posted an article full of inspirational quotes for readers.
As it’s a week and a half into NaNoWriMo and I’m starting to flag, it seemed an appropriate time to share some quotes about the joys and struggles of writing.
Some of them will inspire you; some of them will allay your fears, while others will fill you with a sense of recognition.
If you need something to motivate you through to the end of November, read on, my friends.
- “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
- “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Ernest Hemingway
- “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Richard Bach
- “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou
- “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth
- “The secret of it all is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote, wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant, the very heartbeat of life is caught.” Walt Whitman
- “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Ray Bradbury
- “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
- “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” Neil Gaiman
- “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
- “Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.” Ray Bradbury
- “Tears are words that need to be written.” Paulo Coelho
- “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.” Samuel Johnson
- “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Saul Bellow
- “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” Lloyd Alexander
- “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” Anaïs Nin
- “The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” Kurt Vonnegut
- “This is how you do it: you 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
- “I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.” Joss Whedon
- “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” W. Somerset Maugham
- “Always be a poet, even in prose.” Charles Baudelaire
- “I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” James A. Michener
- “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Albert Camus
- “You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” Ray Bradbury
- “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Stephen King
- “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.” Anaïs Nin
- “I hate writing, I love having written.” Dorothy Parker
Anyone who has ever studied creative writing will be familiar with the show, don’t tell mantra. It can be a difficult thing to grasp, but Anton Chekhov phrases it well:
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
Which quotes inspire your love of writing?