Writing and Publishing

Quotes for Writers

Check out these quotes for writers (in no particular order)

“It’s splendid to be a great writer, to put men into the frying pan of your imagination and make them pop like chestnuts.” -Gustave Flaubert

“Story, finally, is humanity’s autobiography.” -Lloyd Alexander

“Your voice dries up if you don’t use it.” -Patti Page

“The problem in our country isn’t with books being banned, but with people no longer reading.” -Ray Bradbury

“A word after a word after a word is power.” -Margaret Atwood

“Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.” -William Butler Yeats

“Writing is the Latin of our times. The modern language of the people is video and sound.” -Lawrence Lessig

“Historians tell the story of the past, novelists the story of the present.” -Edmond de Goncourt

“When you sell a man a book you don’t sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue–you sell him a whole new life.” -Christopher Morley

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.” -Jerry Seinfeld

“Never lend books —nobody ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are those which people have lent me.” -Anatole France

“It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds.” -William Ellery Channing

“Don’t ask me who’s influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he’s digested, and I’ve been reading all my life.” -Giorgos Seferis

“When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen.” -Samuel Lover

“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” -Juan Ramon Jimenez

“If you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good.” -Thornton Wilder

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” -Edmund Burke

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” -Stephen King

“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.” -Ben Okri

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison

“When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day.” -Jean Fritz

“Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.” -Marc Brown

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” -Will Rogers

“A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.” -Lorrie Moore

“Humanity lives in its fiction.” -Blaise Cendrars

“What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects —with their Christianity latent.”  -C. S. Lewis

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” -Ernest Hemingway 

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others. -William Faulkner

“Every writer I know has trouble writing,” -Joseph Heller

I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live. -Francoise Sagan

“If you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good.” -Thornton Wilder

“The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or a new thing in an old way.” -Richard Harding Davis

“There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.” -William Makepeace Thackeray

“A writer—and, I believe, generally all persons—must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.” -Jorge Luis Borges

“Writing, when properly managed, (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name for conversation.” -Laurence Sterne

“One day I was speeding along at the typewriter, and my daughter—who was a child at the time—asked me, ‘Daddy, why are you writing so fast?’ And I replied, ‘Because I want to see how the story turns out!’” -Louis L’Amour

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” -Benjamin Franklin 

“In a given year, more people make a living as professional baseball players than as novelists.”  -Thomas Smith

“Don’t rewrite —relive.” -Ray Bradbury

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” -J.D. Salinger

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” -Pearl Strachan

“The coroner will find ink in my veins and blood on my typewriter keys.” -C. Astrid Weber

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” -Elmore Leonard

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” -Gustave Flaubert

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” -Isaac Asimov

“A lot of people talk about writing. The secret is to write, not talk.” -Jackie Collins

“If you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good.” -Thornton Wilder

“It is as easy to dream a book as it is hard to write one.” -Honore de Balzac

“There is no doubt that I have lots of words inside me; but at moments, like rush-hour traffic at the mouth of a tunnel, they jam.” -John Updike

“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?” -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

“The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” -King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 6:11)

“The fool multiplies words.” -King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 10:14)

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” -King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

“I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account.” -Dr Luke (Luke 1:2-3)

“I would rather speak five understandable words to help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language.” -Paul, the apostle (1 Corinthians 14:19)

“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works,” -David, king of Israel (Psalm 26:7, KJV).

“Insomniac, I twitter away,” -Psalm 102:7, The Message).

“Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God,” Psalm 102:18, The Message).

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” -Herman Melville

“Omit needless words.” -William Strunk Jr.

“Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.” -Norman Mailer

“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed. “ -Orhan Pamuk

“A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition,” -Henry Miller

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -Saint Augustine of Hippo

“Words were not given to man in order to conceal his thoughts.” -José Saramago

 “Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you make the whole trip that way.” -E. L. Doctorow

“Puns are the highest form of literature.” -Alfred Hitchcock

“You do have a story inside you; it lies articulate and waiting to be written—behind your silence and your suffering.” -Anne Rice

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

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.” -Harper Lee

“A word has power in and of itself. It comes from nothing into sound and meaning; it gives origin to all things.” -N. Scott Momaday

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” -Frank Herbert

“If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.” -Chinua Achebe

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.” -Virginia Woolf

“I read hungrily and delightedly, and have realized since that you can’t write unless you read.” -William Trevor

“How marvelous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself.” -Gore Vidal

“When you read a book, you hold another’s mind in your hands.” -James Burke

“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” -Maya Angelou

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be.” -Abraham Maslow

“Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.” -Ezra Pound

“Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.” -H.W. Fowler

“One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment.” -Hart Crane

“No two persons ever read the same book.” -Edmund Wilson

“A book must be an axe for the frozen sea inside of us.” -Franz Kafka

“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.” -William Faulkner

“Writing is thinking on paper.” -William Zinsser

“Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.” -Ezra Pound

“To a poet, silence is an acceptable response, even a flattering one.” -Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

“Beware of the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.” -Ben Okri

“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” -Terry Pratchett

“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.” -Stephen King

“Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.” -Christina Rossetti

“A poor idea well written is more likely to be accepted than a good idea poorly written.” -Isaac Asimov

“Beware of the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.” -Ben Okri

“Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.” -Marianne Moore

“My stories run up and bite me in the leg—I respond by writing them down—everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.” -Ray Bradbury

“A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader and from the reader the writer learns.” -P.L. Travers

“Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.” -Paul Theroux

“Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life.” -Barbara Kingsolver

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” -Louis L’Amour

“Dialogue is the life you put into a story.” -John Yeoman

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us get up and go to work.” -Stephen King

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.