Favorite Quotes on Writing

I like to collect quotations, especially about writing. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.”
     Goethe

“Narrative is the human way of working through a chaotic and unforgiving world.”
     E.O. Wilson

“Always try to put the funniest word at the end of your sentence underpants.”
     Gene Weingarten

“Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.”
     Jules Renard

“What’s so hard about the first sentence is that you’re stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you’ve laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone.”
     Joan Didion

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

“Remember that writing is translation, and the opus to be translated is yourself.”
E.B. White

“It is not my intent as a writer necessarily to help young readers escape this world we live in so much as to show it as a place imbued with magical potential.”
     Tim Wynne-Jones

“He was listening to what I like to call the wisdom of the novel. Every true novelist listens for that suprapersonal wisdom, which explains why great novels are always a little more intelligent than their authors. Novelists who are more intelligent than their books should go into another line of work.”
     Milan Kundera

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
     T.S. Eliot

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

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

“Writers are troublemakers. A psychotherapist tries to relieve stress, strain, and pressure. Writers are not psychotherapists. Their job is to give readers stress, strain, and pressure. The fact is that readers who hate those things in life love them in fiction”
     Sol Stein

“Start as close to the end as possible.”
     Kurt Vonnegut

“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
     W. Somerset Maugham

 “Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned.”
     Oscar Wilde

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
     Robert Benchley

“Fiction writers are by their very nature, middle children—they are searchers, doubters, malcontents. They believe themselves somehow abandoned, uncoddled, unloved.”
     John Gregory Brown

“When you catch an adjective, kill it.”
     Mark Twain

“Jewish humor uses crazy logic as a way of coping with the incomprehensible.”
     Jim Holt

“Writing is the mask and the unveiling.”
     E.B. White

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
     Ray Bradbury

“This is not a book that should be tossed aside lightly. It should be hurled with great force.”
     Dorothy Parker

 

 Do you have other favorites? Feel free to share them below.

 

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kelly Hashway
    Apr 07, 2012 @ 10:15:54

    “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
    Ray Bradbury
    This one is great!

    Reply

  2. Laurel
    Apr 14, 2012 @ 11:48:22

    The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.
    -paraphrased from Mark Twain

    Reply

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