Quotes about writing

by Kim on May 8, 2013 · 20 comments

30 quotes about writing

“Write drunk; edit sober.” -Ernest Hemingway

“Everyone wants to know what it means, but nobody is asking, How does it feel?”- Mary Oliver on poetry

“As long as you feel inspired, your life is being well spent.” – Hugh McLeod


“Of course I wanted to know. I was a writer. I wanted to know everything.” -Gregory David Roberts

“Truth isn’t always beauty, but the hunger for it is.” -Nadine Gordimer

“You have to understand what all great painters understand: In order to forget the rules, you must know them and respect them.” -Paulo Coelho

“Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Act because you need to act.” -Paulo Coelho

“The story I am writing exists, written in absolute perfect fashion, some place in the air. All I must do is find it and copy it.” – Jules Renard

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” -Anais Nin

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” -Thoreau

“Master your instrument, master the music, and then forget all that and just play.” -Charlie Parker, Jazz musician

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” -Jack London

“If they don’t read, if they don’t love reading; if they don’t find themselves compulsively reading, I don’t think they’re really a writer.” -Rita Dove, poet

“I simply do not distinguish between work and play.” -Mary Oliver, poet

“What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.” -Theodore Roethke

“Talent is long patience.” -Gustave Flaubert

“I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.” -Henry David Thoreau

“A writer lives, at least, in a state of astonishment. Beneath any feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of wonder at it all. To transmit that feeling, he writes.” -William Sansom

“I don’t like to write, but I love to have written.” -Michael Kanin

“A writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.” -Burton Rascoe

“Nothing you write, if you hope to be any good, will ever come out as you first hoped.” -Lillian Helman

“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

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” -E.L. Doctorow

“Details make stories human, and the more human a story can be, the better.” 
 -Ernest Hemingway

“Real writers are those who want to write, need to write, have to write.” -Robert Penn Warren

“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” -E.L. Doctorow

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

“Suspect all of your favorite sentences.” -Kenneth Atchity

“You must write for yourself, above all. That is [your] only hope of creating something beautiful.” -Gustave Flaubert

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” -Gloria Steinem 



{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah May 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm

“A writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.” – Haha LOVE this one! Great collection 🙂


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:25 am

I thought of it today as I was staring out the window trying to work!


Lindsey May 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm

I loved “suspect all your favourite sentences”!
Lindsey recently posted..Roadtripping Bohol


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:25 am

I know! I HATE that that one is so true.


Sarah Somewhere May 9, 2013 at 7:19 am

Thank you Kim!!! The last one. And the Mark Twain one, oh hell I love em all! Except the first one of course, that never worked for me!
Sarah Somewhere recently posted..April in Playa – Taking What Comes


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:28 am

Ha, that first one never works for me either, but sometimes I wish it did!


Tyrhone May 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

It’s funny you created this post now. Just yesterday Sarah and I started putting solid planned time into our books again. Thanks for the motivation!
Tyrhone recently posted..Walking Slowly, Without Purpose.


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:28 am

YES! I hope that they can be a kick in the butt when you need one 🙂


Jennifer May 9, 2013 at 10:19 am

I would love for the quote by mary oliver to apply to my life – unfortunately it doesnt as I have to travel blog part time and ‘work’ full time!
Jennifer recently posted..Beaches around the Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand (South Island)


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:28 am

Maybe someday. Hopefully someday 🙂


Tracy May 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm

“Kim has the best collection of quotes” – Tracy


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:28 am

“Tracy has a quote book.” -Kim


Candace May 10, 2013 at 3:20 am

Yes!!! Love these so much – *especially* the Shantaram one. I remember when I first came across that one, it was like putting a name (or phrase) to this unnamed thing I’d always loved about writing – just getting to be curious, ask questions, etc. I think Anne Lamott says something similar in Bird by Bird, something about how being a writer gave her an excuse… actually, I just went and found it 🙂 “One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore.” So there’s another one for your list! Hope you and Brian are loving Nepal!!!
Candace recently posted..sketching laos: extra hours and unexpected encounters in vientiane.


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:29 am

Thanks Candace!!! I love that I can ask questions and take notes when talking to people and they just consider it normal 🙂 I think people are fascinating, that is why I love to write.


Jessica Hill May 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm

This is a brilliant compilation of some of the best quotes. They’re so inspiring, especially this one: “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” -Thoreau

Thanks for doing the work and putting them all in one place for me!
Jessica Hill recently posted..Thailand’s Best Island: Koh Kood


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:30 am

You are welcome Jessica, glad they will come in handy!


Josh @ I Ran So Far Away May 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

I think the last one’s my favorite. It’s so hard to get myself to sit down and write and yet I love when I do it and feel like I’m doing the only thing I should be doing.
Josh @ I Ran So Far Away recently posted..The Complete Loser’s Guide to South Beach, Miami


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:30 am



Casey @ A Cruising Couple May 12, 2013 at 5:29 am

So many good quotes here! And what a great list to read next time I’m having a hard time getting motivated. I especially liked the third one, as that can apply to anybody, anywhere 🙂 Thanks for the great compilation!
Casey @ A Cruising Couple recently posted..Photo Friday | You Can’t Spell Gorgeous without Gorge | Taroko Gorge, Taiwan


Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:31 am

Glad to share it!


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