Storytelling at Work
February 07, 2019
44 Awesome Quotes for Writers

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Fifty percent of the people I meet these days tell me "they have a book in them" or they "really want to write a book" or "they've started to write a book, but somehow...er... uh... um... they haven't quite completed it."

I totally get it. I do. Writing a book is not easy. It sounds good and gets you a lot of points at parties when you let it fly that you are thinking about writing a book. But there's a big difference between thinking about writing a book and actually writing it. And there's a big difference between writing a book and actually completing it. Thus the following quotes.

Read them at your own risk. Find the ones that really sing to you and contemplate them. They are gifts to you from 44 accomplished writers. The know what they are talking about.

1. "You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children." -- Madeleine L'Engle

2. "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." -- Stephen King

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3. "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." -- Toni Morrison

4. "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple." -- Jack Kerouac

5. "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." -- Benjamin Franklin

6. "You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write." -- Saul Bellow

7. "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." -- Robert Frost

8. "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." -- Thomas Mann

9. "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

10. "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." -- Ray Bradbury

11. "Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced." -- Aldous Huxley

12. "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." -- H.D. Thoreau

13. "I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn." -- Anne Frank

14. "Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences." -- Sylvia Plath

15. "Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college." -- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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16. "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

17. "I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

18. "You can make anything by writing." -- C.S. Lewis

19. "A word after a word after a word is power." -- Margaret Atwood

20. "Tears are words that need to be written." -- Paulo Coelho

21. "Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money." -- Virginia Woolf

22. "To survive, you must tell stories." -- Umberto Eco

23. "Always be a poet, even in prose." -- Charles Baudelaire

24. "If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster." -- Isaac Asimov

25. "The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." -- Albert Camus

26. "I write to discover what I know." -- Flannery O'Connor

27. "Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish." -- Hermann Hesse

28. "Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing." -- Norman Mailer

29. "Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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30. "As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand." -- Ernest Hemingway

31. "A good writer possesses not only his own spirit, but also the spirit of his friends." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

32. "The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." -- Thomas Jefferson

33. "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

34. "Writers live twice." -- Natalie Goldberg

35. "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme." -- Herman Melville

36. "Words are a lens to focus one's mind." -- Ayn Rand

37. "I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within." -- Gustave Flaubert

38. "Writing is its own reward." -- Henry Miller

39. "A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God." -- Sidney Sheldon

40. "I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged." -- Erica Jong

42. "Half my life is an act of revision." -- John Irving

43. "Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good." -- William Faulkner

44. "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

Jump Start Coaching for Aspiring Authors

Me
My most recent book
And the one before it
What you get when you google "writer"
Cartoon: gaping void
Painting: Lesley Dietsche

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at February 7, 2019 02:39 PM

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Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

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