Quotes about writing that will definitely inspire you

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Read 100 of the best writing quotes to inspire you to get writing now

Hit a block? Lost your muse? Be inspired by 100 of the best writing quotes*, from some of the best writers.

*note that some of these quotes may contradict each other. Don't worry about it. Pick the ones you like, be inspired, and go your own way.

“I always write with the idea that I have no control over what my characters do. I usually end up writing myself into a corner but then it’s quite good fun to try to get out again.”
Jasper Fforde

“Do, occasionally, give in to temptation. Wash the kitchen floor, hang out the washing. It’s research.”
Roddy Doyle.

“You can only walk around your own house for a few minutes every day thinking “I’m the poet laureate!” You have to go and do something real, which in my case is writing poems.”
Simon Armitage

“In any piece of writing, a moment of humour is as the proverbial ray of sunshine; if it is original and subtle, that is.”
Simon Heffer

“Read, rewrite, reread, rewrite. If it still doesn’t work, throw it away. It’s a nice feeling…”
Helen Dunmore

“Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether.”
Jeanette Winterson

“Every time I start a novel, I feel I’ve never written one before.”
Jonathan Franzen

“Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden, or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort. Chances are the words that come into your head will do fine, eg “horse”, “ran”, “said”.”
Roddy Doyle

“Cut (perhaps that should be CUT): only by having no inessential words can every essential word be made to count.”
Diana Athill

“Finish the day’s writing when you still want to continue.”
Helen Dunmore

“Do be kind to yourself. Fill pages as quickly as possible; double space or write on every second line. Regard every new page as a small triumph.”
Roddy Doyle

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left for when you want to talk about something really infinite.”
CS Lewis

“Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it’s so hurtful to think about writing.”
Heather Armstrong

“Find your best time of the day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess.”
Esther Freud

“There is pleasure to be had in the painstaking reconstruction of a lost world.”
David Mitchell

“Only bad writers think that their work is really good.”
Anne Enright

“You need discipline to write books.”
Jeffrey Archer

“If you stop listening and you lose that curiosity about the way people speak and the way people behave, then you stop being a proper writer.”
Alan Plater

“As a writer you owe it to yourself not to get stuck into a rut of looking at the world in a certain way.”
Hilary Mantel

“Try to think of others’ good luck as encouragement to yourself.”
Richard Ford

“Keep a diary. The biggest regret of my writing life is that I have never kept a journal or diary.”
Geoff Dyer

“Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more effective your writing.”
PD James

“The crime genre is the perfect tool to understand why crimes take place, and thus tell us about the society we live in and the country we live in and who we are.”
David Peace

“The act of writing is – should be – an act of discovery.”
Rose Tremain

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
Elmore Leonard

“One of the best things about being a writer is that nobody tells you what to do. You don’t have a boss.”
John Lanchester

“Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: “Let’s not forget this.””
Dave Eggers

“As you grow older, there’s no reason why you can’t be wiser as a novelist than you ever were before. You should know more about human nature every year of your life.”
Norman Mailer

“If you only write a page a night that’s 365 pages a year or one and a half books.”
Colin Dexter

“You have to be organised as a novelist because what you’re doing when you’re writing is organising people, making them do what you want.”
Barbara Taylor Bradford

“I have to write because if I don’t get something down then after a while I feel it’s going to bang the side of my head off.”
Terry Pratchett

“I knew I wanted to be a writer and I knew I would get better.”
Glen David Gold

“A good fiction writer could pen a whole short story about an airport baggage carousel.”
Matthew Parris

“I am in every scene I write. When my characters are laughing, I am laughing and when they cry, I cry and if that’s not the case I need to rip out the pages I’ve written and start again because if I don’t feel the emotion, then I don’t think the reader will feel it.”
Cecelia Ahern

“Develop craftsmanship through years of reading.”
Annie Proulx

“Things going wrong: that’s usually good material to work with. When things go right, when life is good, it’s rather less exciting.”
Tobias Wolff

“Remember you love writing. It wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back.”
AL Kennedy

“The prerequisite for me is to keep my well of ideas full. This means living as full and varied a life as possible, to have my antennae out all the time.”
Michael Morpurgo

“You can’t just sit down and reel off page after perfect page, you have to work at it.”
Ross Raisin

“We all need to escape from our humdrum lives and so we allow authors to live in parallel universes, creating arbours of imagination where we can sit and be inspired, sit and be soothed, sit and forget for a while.”
Sandi Toksvig

“If you want to be a novelist, you have to read novels. You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise.”
John Dufresne

“Try to be accurate about stuff.”
Anne Enright

“In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it.”
Rose Tremain

“People who don’t read a lot rarely write well.”
Fay Weldon

“If I ever get writer’s block, there are two words I whisper to myself: royalty cheque.”
Mary Higgins Clark

“Write whatever way you like. Fiction is made of words on a page; reality is made of something else. It doesn’t matter how “real” your story is, or how “made up”; what matters is its necessity.”
Anne Enright

“Trust your reader. Not everything needs to be explained. If you really know something, and breathe life into it, they’ll know it too.”
Esther Freud

“Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.”
Neil Gaiman

“Write only when you have something to say.”
David Hare

“When it’s dark and I’m staring out at nothing and the house is quiet, that tends to be when I get the most productive work done.”
Mark Billingham

“Listen to what you have written. A dud rhythm in a passage of dialogue may show that you don’t yet understand the characters well enough to write in their voices,”
Helen Dunmore

“Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it’s committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.”
Will Self

“Finish everything you start. Often, you don’t know where you’re going for a while; then, halfway through, something comes and you know. If you abandon things, you never find that out.”
Colm Tóibín

“Do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones.”
Roddy Doyle

“Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.”
Zadie Smith

“A writer’s imaginative life commences in childhood; all one’s associations and feelings are steeped in it. When you’re young, everything is seen in wonder and detail. I don’t see it as a limitation. So long as the words and the story spring from a true place, that’s all that counts.”
Edna O’Brien

“Love what you do.”
Jeanette Winterson

“The best way to write better is to write more.”
Simon Heffer

“Don’t just plan to write – write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.”
PD James

“Write. No amount of self-inflicted misery, altered states, black pullovers or being publicly obnoxious will ever add up to your being a writer. Writers write. On you go.”
AL Kennedy

“Have more than one idea on the go at any one time. If it’s a choice between writing a book and doing nothing I will always choose the latter. It’s only if I have an idea for two books that I choose one rather than the other.”
Geoff Dyer

“Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.”
Neil Gaiman

“I cannot tell the story before I write the story. I want to have as much fun discovering the stories as the readers do so I basically make it up as I go along.”
Derek Landy

“If you can write even for twenty minutes every day, that is marvellous. It will get you into the habit of writing, improve your confidence, and most importantly it will stop that belief in writer’s block.”
Adele Parks

“Writing is like most things, the more you do it, the better you get at it.”
Iain Banks

“If it reads easy it was writ hard.”
Ernest Hemingway

“The more you write the nicer you become.”
Virginia Woolf

“A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow men is not conceivable as a writer.”
Joseph Conrad

“Find the key emotion: this may be all you need to know to find your short story.”
F Scott Fitzgerald

“If you start with a bang, you won’t end with a whimper.”
TS Eliot

“Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
Rudyard Kipling

“Don’t go into great details describing places and things. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”
Elmore Leonard

“If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for?”
Franz Kafka

“Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, however tragic – is ever wasted.”
PD James

“Proceed slowly and take care.”
Annie Proulx

“Poetry is the music of being human. A good poem is a gift to the world.”
Carol Ann Duffy

“Keep a light, hopeful heart. But expect the worst.”
Joyce Carol Oates

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”
Tom Stoppard

“Remember you don’t know the limits of your own abilities. Successful or not, if you keep pushing beyond yourself, you will enrich your own life – and maybe even please a few strangers.”
AL Kennedy

“I write as straight as I can, just as I walk as straight as I can, because that is the best way to get there.”
HG Wells

“Novels that last are language-based novels – the language is not simply a means of telling a story, it is the whole creation of the story. If the language has no power – forget it.”
Jeanette Winterson

“The inspiration is enjoying it. You write what you want to read.”
Bernard Cornwell

“Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say.”
Michael Moorcock

“Writing is about sitting alone in a room.”
Pat Barker

“I never plan my novels because if I know what’s going to happen it bores me rigid.”
James Herbert

“All writers learn this in time: don’t show your work to other people until it’s safely finished.”
Lynne Truss

“A writer helps to show you things you knew but didn’t know you knew.”
Dennis Potter

“Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind.”
Jack Kerouac

“You cannot be a good writer without empathy.”
Elizabeth Jane Howard

“Writing is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows.”
Karol Ove Knaussgaard

“I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write.”
Nadeem Aslam

“I see poetry, and my use of it over the years, as an exploration of the landscapes of imagination – and I consider imagination as real as the pen and paper you’re writing with.”
Lemn Sissay

“The artist is never poor. In my 20s and 30s I was financially in trouble, but there was never any inadequacy in me, because it was never the case that I couldn’t write. If I spent twelve hours a day writing then I didn’t need anything else.”
Nadeem Aslam

“Forget the boring old dictum “write what you know”. Instead, seek out an unknown yet knowable area of experience that’s going to enhance your understanding of the world and write about that.”
Rose Tremain

“If a novel doesn’t arouse your curiosity on some level, it’s dead in your hands.”
Ian McEwan

“No-one becomes a write because they enjoy being in the public eye, you become a writer because you enjoy being alone in a room.”
Ian Rankin

“Write a book you’d like to read. If you wouldn’t read it, why would anybody else?”
Hilary Mantel

“The great thing about being a writer is you don’t have to stop.”
Virginia Ironside

“Have no mercy on yourself. Cut. Destroy. Revise. Take entire pages out. Bad writing is like a bad relationship. Don’t be addicted to it just because you are familiar with its ways. Let go.”
Elif Shafak

“The first draft takes the longest. Then each draft is like sculpture; it’s like smoothing out each bit. The last draft is like sandpaper. You have really rough sandpaper at the beginning and it gets finer and finer. You are finally doing little things like changing a word.”
Tracy Chevalier

“Writing is magical, sitting at your desk, launching into the freedom of make-believe and forgetting reality exists!”
Mary Malone

“Always write as if you are talking to someone.”
Maeve Binchy

 

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