You’ve seen all the sitcoms where someone decides to write a book—or a paper for school—and spends the whole show doing anything else besides writing. They’re funny.
They’re true, too. A friend of mine told me about a time he isolated himself away from all distractions. Or so he thought. He saw his face in a mirror and got this urge to trim his beard. But the only tool at hand was his nail clipper! Oh well, he finished his work (a musical composition in this case) another time.
Some writers of words write novels or plays or poems. Some writers write journalistic pieces. Others write advertising copy. Whatever it is they write for a living, they have to correspond with editors or collaborators. They write letters to friends and lovers––all the same kinds of things all the rest of us write.
Somewhere in all that, they write about writing. They describe their joys and fears and self-doubts. And when they publish their thoughts—or someone else does—they leave behind quotes about writing.
You’re a writer, even if you never get a byline in a publication. And sometimes you have trouble getting started, or trouble finishing. Here are some motivational quotes about writing that might help you on days when your own writing seems like a chore.
“Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.” — James Baldwin
“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” — Jane Yolen
“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” — Neil Gaiman
“People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.” — R.L. Stine
“It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.” — Virginia Woolf
“Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.” — Ray Bradbury
“I just give myself permission to suck. I delete about 90 percent of my first drafts, so it doesn’t really matter much if on a particular day I write beautiful and brilliant prose that will stick in the minds of my readers forever, because there’s a 90 percent chance I’m just going to delete whatever I write anyway. I find this hugely liberating.” — John Green
“I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it.” –– Chinua Achebe
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” –– Richard Bach
“You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.” ― Junot Diaz
“We write, not because we claim to know more than others, but perhaps because we want to know more than others. Writers are explorers” ― Bangambiki Habyarimana
“Start having more confidence in yourself, and others will do the same.” ― Chris Mentillo
“Being a writer is one of the most wonderful jobs in the world, because you’re never bored. If you’re a writer, you’re also a reader. And if you’re near a book, you’re not bored. If there is no book but you have a pencil and paper, you’re not bored because you can write.” – John Carlton