Writing may be one of the most rewarding – and most frustrating – activities in the history of mankind. Few other callings result in as much crumpled paper, snapped pencils, frayed nerves and all-nighters. Writing has also given us some of the most inspirational quotes imaginable. Here, we’ve collected 25 quotes to give you the motivation and inspiration you need to finish your project, even if it takes all night.
Every writer has dealt with writer’s block and new writers can find the process of simply starting to be difficult. Since beginning can be difficult for even seasoned writers, much advice has been given on how to take the plunge and begin telling your story.
- “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” (Ernest Hemingway)
- “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” (Stephen King)
- “The first draft of anything is shit.” (Ernest Hemingway)
- “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” (Mark Twain)
- “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” (Lewis Carroll)
- “You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” (Les Brown)
As we can see, the best authors in the world understand that beginning to write is as simple as it is difficult – one must simply begin.
Choosing the Right Words
Another common theme in writing is the eternal struggle to find just the right words and phrases. Many times writers throw around a number of words, searching for the one that fits like a missing puzzle piece. Rough drafts were made to be reworked and this is where a writer’s vocabulary and talent really come into play. Writing a scene requires the same dexterity and skilled hand as paining a picture, creating a sculpture or any other creative endeavor.
- “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” (Mark Twain)
- “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” (Jack Kerouac)
- “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” (Anton Chekhov)
- “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” (Aldous Huxley)
- “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)
- “There is no great writing, only great rewriting.” (Justice Brandeis)
Creative inspiration is perhaps one of the most ephemeral things in the world. Inspiration can come from anywhere and creativity is, at best, a fickle mistress. This interest in creativity and the creative process has been with man since the earliest times. The ancient Greeks had dozens of Muses dedicated to various forms of the arts and science. The Muses are goddesses representing different arts and sciences in Greek mythology. They are the daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus.
- Kalliope – the muse of epic poetry
- Euterpe – the muse of music and lyric poetry
- Erato – the muse of lyric/love poetry
- Melpomene – the muse of tragedy
- Thalia – the muse of comedy
Although established Muses of the past are rarely referred to now, their spirit lives on. Today, the creative process may be seen differently, but the inspiration and frustration remain the same.
- “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” (Saul Bellow)
- “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” (Scott Adams)
- “Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.” (Pyotr Tchaikovsky)
- “Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources” (Albert Einstein)
- “Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time.” (Leonard Bernstein)
- “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” (William Wordsworth)
- “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” (Ray Bradbury)
- “I don’t know where my ideas come from, but I know where they come to. They come to my desk, and if I’m not there, they go away again.” (Philip Pullman)
On the Writing Life
It’s often said that artists are a special breed, and writers are no different. The writing life isn’t for everyone and, for those who feel the calling, taking the journey is sometimes difficult. Writers have discussed their methods, their inspirations and their styles, but here we get a glimpse into what truly drives them to follow the writer’s life.
- “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” (Ray Bradbury)
- “I know some people might think it odd – unworthy even – for me to have written a cookbook, but I make no apologies. The U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins thought I had demeaned myself by writing poetry for Hallmark Cards, but I am the people’s poet so I write for the people.” (Maya Angelou)
- “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” (Ernest Hemingway)
- “I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” (Isaac Asimov)
- “You fail only if you stop writing.” (Ray Bradbury)