28 of the Most Inspirational Quotes About Writing

Sometimes, when I sit alone at my desk writing, I get despondent. What is it all for, all this sitting and typing and churning out words? Who in the world possibly could understand? In fact, however, there are plenty of people who do. Their words are often solace that pushes my own forward, and here, I share the best of their quotes about writing so they can push your words forward, too.

quotes about writing

Although all of these are fantastic quotes, my personal favorite is the one from Anne Frank. The one from Tom Stoppard is a close second.

Quotes about writing to help you keep going

  1. “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” ― William Faulkner
  2. “One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.” —Lawrence Block
  3. “Good writing can be defined as having something to say and saying it well. When one has nothing to say, one should remain silent. Silence is always beautiful at such times.” ― Edward Abbey
  4. “You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.”
    ― Richard Price
  5. “Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.” —Allegra Goodman
  6. “A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”
    ― G.K. Chesterton
  7. “Since I became a novelist I have discovered that I am biased. Either I think a new novel is worse than mine and I don’t like it, or I suspect it is better than my novels and I don’t like it.” ― Umberto Eco
  8. “Before I start a project, I always ask myself the following question. Why is this book worth a year of my life? There needs to be something about the theme, the technique, or the research that makes the time spent on it worthwhile.” ― David Morrell
  9. “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” Franz Kafka
  10. “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” ―Robert Hughes
  11. “Tears are words that need to be written.” Paulo Coelho
  12. “When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time. ” —Lady Gaga
  13. “We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.” —John Updike
  14. “Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.” —Leigh Brackett
  15. “If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” —Isaac Asimov
  16. “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” —Margaret Atwood
  17. “There are significant moments in everyone’s day that can make literature. That’s what you ought to write about.” —Raymond Carver
  18. “If you do not hear music in your words, you have put too much thought into your writing and not enough heart.” —Terry Brooks
  19. “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
  20. “No one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.” —Charles de Lint
  21. “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” —Albert Camus
  22. “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” ― Henry David Thoreau
  23. “That’s what you’re looking for as a writer when you’re working. You’re looking for your own freedom.” —Philip Roth
  24. “He asked, “What makes a man a writer?” “Well,” I said, “it’s simple. You either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.” ― Charles Bukowski
  25. “Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” ― Colette
  26. “I’ve found the best way to revise your own work is to pretend that somebody else wrote it and then to rip the living shit out of it.” ― Don Roff
  27. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” —Anne Frank
  28. “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” —Elmore Leonard