Writing Quotes by Famous Authors

It is a great time to be a writer. The growth of the internet has swept away many of the barriers that were a stumbling block to many aspiring writers.

With blogging and self-publishing, you now have the power that belonged to big media houses and publishing firms.

The removal of these barriers has encouraged more people to get into writing and this has made writing more competitive. To survive in this competitive environment, you have to ensure that you keep working on your writing skills.

Writing well can be challenging for many people and it requires a lot of effort and practice.

However, writing can be extremely rewarding and it comes with many benefits. It pays to put in the effort required to be the best writer you can become.

Fortunately for us, many of the world’s most famous authors have provided their best advice and insights over the years. In this article, I have collected over 170 of the best quotes from many of the world’s top writers.

Some of the topics that these quotes cover include:

  • How regular writing can benefit your life.
  • The reality of making a living through writing.
  • Surviving the challenges of a writer’s life.
  • How to overcome writer’s block and generate ideas for writing.
  • How to become a successful writer.

If you make a living from writing or aspire to become a writer, these quotes are packed with valuable and actionable advice that will make your writing life much easier.

1. The Best James Patterson Quotes on Writing

James Patterson (born 1947) is best known for books such as the Alex Cross and Michael Bennett series.  He has written or co-written about over 300 books that have sold more than 300 million copies. Many of his books have also been turned into successful films.

1. Somebody said you’re lucky if you find something you like to do, and it’s a miracle if somebody will pay you to do it, and that’s my gig. I love doing it. I’m very quick, and good as a storyteller, I’m not that interested in being a craftsman. – The Guardian Interview, 2021

2. I have the ability to dream up things but also to step back and ask, “Does anybody care? Is anybody going to be interested in this? Am I interested in it as a reader?” – HBR Interview, 2012

3. I don’t think anyone grows up without some kind of hardship. It’s an unavoidable part of life. It may not make everyone a great writer, but it does give everyone a unique story to tell, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. – Marisha Pessl Interview

4. I have more than enough ideas right now. I have a folder in my office with about 400 ideas in it. So it will take me another 40 years to get through those. – CNN, 2012

5. Even if I wrote a really terrific book, I think I would still get a 50-50 split from the critics. So that’s one of the reservations: Some people will bang at me no matter what I do. – HBR Interview, 2012

6. It’s very easy for me to multitask. I can go to another table and focus on something new and get right into it. – HBR Interview, 2012

7. If you’re in a situation where you like two tasks and hate three, it’s hard to go back and forth. But I’m always doing something I want to do. – HBR Interview, 2012

8. I think books are probably the best place to get varying points of view on things, understand how other people think and live their lives and have more understanding and compassion for people. – CNN, 2012

For more James Patterson Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 30+ Inspirational James Patterson Quotes for Writers

2. The Best Stephen King Quotes on Writing

Stephen King (born in 1947) is an award-winning American author best known for his horror and supernatural fiction books such as The Shining, It, and The Stand. He has written 63 novels that have sold over 350 million copies. His memoir, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is a must-read for anyone interested in writing.

1. Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. On Writing, 2000

2. I care about anything that goes out with my name on it. If you’re going to do the work and if someone is going to pay you for it, I think you ought to do the best job that you can. – Paris Review Interview, 2006

3. The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor. On Writing, 2000

4. I don’t even think about money. I have two amazing things in my life: I’m pain-free and I’m debt-free. Money means I can support my family and still do what I love. Not very many people can say that in this world, and not many writers can say that. – Rolling Stones Interview, 2014

5. You try to grow as a writer and not just do the same thing over and over again, because there’s absolutely no point to that. – Paris Review Interview, 2006

6. I have a drive to succeed. I have a drive to want to please people, as many people as possible. But that ends at a certain point where you say, “I’m not going to sell out and write this one particular kind of thing.” – Rolling Stones Interview, 2014

7. I work on a book every day. It’s like a religion to me. – Esquire Interview, 2021

8. Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. On Writing, 2000

For more Stephen King Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 80+ Inspirational Stephen King Quotes for Writers

3. The Best Margaret Atwood Quotes on Writing

Margaret Atwood (born 1939) is an acclaimed Canadian author best known for her dystopian book The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been made into a film and a popular television series. She is widely regarded as one of Canada’s finest writers.

1. It’s very enjoyable for me to write. It’s a pleasure. I bet you’ve never heard a writer say that before. – Southwest Review, 1982

2. Most people secretly believe they themselves have a book in them, which they would write if they could only find the time. And there’s some truth to this notion. A lot of people do have a book in them – that is, they have had an experience that other people might want to read about. But that is not the same as ‘being a writer.’ – Negotiating with the Dead, 2003

3. Writing has to do with darkness, and a desire or perhaps a compulsion to enter it, and, with luck, to illuminate it, and to bring something back out to the light. – Negotiating with the Dead, 2003

4. What I say to young people is that there are four kinds of books: good books that make money, good books that don’t make money, bad books that make money and bad books that don’t make money. Of those four, you can live with three of them. – AARP Interview, 2020

5. What you have to do is to make your writing the best it can be, and then you just have to have faith. You just have to throw your writing away and assume that whoever picks it up will be the right person. – UC Davis Interview, 1993

6. Generally, readers don’t like being preached to, not because they have no moral sense but because they like to make up their own minds, and if you don’t supply the moral for them, they will put it in themselves. – High Profiles Interview, 2010

7. Everybody has it [creativity] because it’s a human thing. It’s just that people employ their creativity in different ways. Some people write. Some people knit. Some people make music. But it all has to do with our human capacity for invention and for seeing things from different points of view. – AARP Interview, 2020

8. I usually write a lot. A book of poems that you’ll actually read is usually distilled from at least twice that much writing. It only becomes apparent to me toward the end of the process what the form is that’s going to emerge from it. – Southwest Review, 1982

9. I’m inherently lazy, but I’m also inherently puritanical. So it’s frequently a contest between a laziness which says, “Goof off,” and a puritanism which says, “You must put in five hours of work.” – UC Davis Interview, 1993

For more Margaret Atwood Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 40+ Inspirational Margaret Atwood Quotes for Writers

4. The Best Anne Lamott Quotes on Writing

Anne Lamott (born 1954) is a bestselling author of various fiction and non-fiction books. A former alcoholic, Anne uses humor to tackle difficult subjects in her books. Here excellent book on writing, Bird by Bird, has great common-sense advice for any aspiring writer.

1. You’re going to feel like hell if you wake up someday and you never wrote the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves of your heart: your stories, memories, visions and songs -your truth, your version of things – in your own voice. That’s really all you have to offer us, and that’s also why you were born. – Ted Talk, 2017

2. Maybe what you’ve written will help others, will be a small part of the solution. You don’t even have to know how or in what way, but if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. – Bird by Bird, 1995

3. I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it. – Bird by Bird, 1995

4. I don’t try to teach kids or grownups how to write really, really well. I just teach them to stop not writing. I teach to keep their butt in the chair and to write badly. – Tim Ferris Interview, 2021

5. If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. – Bird by Bird, 1995

6. My brother was in tears because his fourth-grade term paper on birds was due, and he hadn’t started. So my dad put his arm around John and said, “Just take it Bird by Bird, buddy.” He had John read a page in Audubon or Roger Tory Peterson about pelicans, and then write a paragraph in his own words. And then read about chickadees, and put it in his own words. Little by little by little. – Lithub Interview, 2021

7. I’ve always told my writing students that I think writer’s block is a misnomer. I don’t think we get blocked, but rather that we get empty. We need to fill back up. – Lithub Interview, 2021

8. We need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here -and, by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing. – Bird by Bird, 1995

For more Anne Lamott Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 50+ Inspiring Anne Lamott Quotes for Writers

5. The Best Dan Brown Quotes on Writing

Dan Brown (born 1964) is a bestselling American author best known for books such as The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Inferno. His books have sold over 200 million copies and many have been turned into successful films.

1. When I’m in writing mode I’m in writing mode and I just pull the shades and live a very simple life. – Publishing Perspectives Interview

2. If I’m not at my desk by 4:00 A.M., I feel like I’m missing my most productive hours. – Book Browse Interview

3. As far as the writing process is concerned I still face a blank piece of paper every day. The characters don’t care how many books I’ve sold – Publishing Perspectives Interview

4. I really just write the book that I would want to read. – MTPR Interview

5. The best possible thing I can do for my readers, and for the book business, is to write, and if I get caught up going to book fairs and interviews and all that, I don’t write as well and I don’t write as quickly. – Publishing Perspectives Interview

6. In any novel, you would hope that the hero has someone to push back against. I find the most interesting villains are those who do the right things for the wrong reasons, or the wrong things for the right reasons. – MTPR Interview

7. I’m trying to write books that taste like ice cream but have the nutrition of vegetables. – CBS News Interview

8. Writing about clandestine material keeps me engaged in the project. Because a novel can take upwards of a year to write, I need to be constantly learning as I write, or I lose interest. – Book Browse Interview

For more Dan Brown Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 20+ Inspirational Dan Brown Quotes for Writers

6. The Best Ray Bradbury Quotes on Writing

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) was an American author best known for his science fiction works such as Fahrenheit 451and The Martian Chronicles.He is credited with having brought modern science fiction into the literary mainstream. Bradbury received a Pulitzer citation in 2007. In his book, Zen in the Art of Writing, Bradbury shares many great ideas on how to become a better writer.

1. What you are looking for in your writing and your life is for one person to come up to you and say I love you because of what you do. – An Evening with Ray Bradbury, 2001

2. Another reason I became a writer was to escape the hopelessness and despair of the real world and enter the world of hope I could create with my imagination. – Playboy Interview, 1996

3. I’ve never worked a day in my life. The joy of writing has propelled me from day to day and year to year. I want you to envy me, my joy. Get out of here tonight and say: “Am I being joyful?” – An Evening with Ray Bradbury, 2001

4. Don’t write for money. Write because you love to do something. If you write for money, you won’t write anything worth reading. – Public Libraries Interview, 2013

5. On my seventieth birthday, when I reflected that so many of my friends were dead or dying, it hit me that it was high time I got more work done. Ever since that time, I have done the active, smart thing by increasing my productivity. – Playboy Interview, 1996

6. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. –Zen in the Art of Writing, 1990

7. For ten years I wrote at least one short story a week, somehow guessing that a day would finally come when I truly got out of the way and let it happen. –Zen in the Art of Writing, 1990

8. If you’ve got a writer’s block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject. – An Evening with Ray Bradbury, 2001

9. Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. –  Fahrenheit 451, 1953

10. By the time many people are fourteen or fifteen, they have been divested of their loves, their ancient and intuitive tastes, one by one, until when they reach maturity there is no fun left, no zest, no gusto, no flavor.  –Zen in the Art of Writing, 1990

For more Ray Bradbury Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 120+ Inspirational Ray Bradbury Quotes for Writers

7. The Best R.L. Stine Quotes on Writing

R.L. Stine (born 1943) is a bestselling children’s horror author best known for novels such as the Goosebumps and Fear Street series. He has written over 370 books that have sold over 400 million copies.

1. I love the writing part. All these people that say writing is hard, I never know what they’re talking about. Everyone says, “Oh, writing is so hard.” I don’t think it’s hard. It’s fun. – The Verge Interview

2. I start to feel uncomfortable if I’m not writing, after like two weeks. – The Verge Interview

3. I don’t think authors retire. I think of Robert B. Parker, who just dropped dead on the keyboard. I think that’s the way to go. – GEN Interview

4. I write every day from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – The Village Voice Interview

5. I don’t try to put any messages in these books…Adults have the right to read something just for fun, and I’ve always thought kids had the same right. Why can’t a kid just pick up a book and be entertained? – The Guardian Interview

6. When you’re writing a story, you’re just writing a story. It all comes as a surprise. All these parents at book signings come up and say, “You changed my kid’s life. They didn’t read before you.”- GEN Interview

7. I don’t start with an idea. I start with a good title, and that leads me to an idea. – Entertainment Weekly Interview

8. I read all the time. I’m a very big reader. I read every day. Collider Interview

9. It’s funny because I never really learned to type. I’m totally left-handed, and I just started typing with my pointer finger, nothing else, just one finger, not even two. And I’ve now written 300 books on this finger. – The Strand Magazine Interview

For more R.L. Stine Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 35+ Inspirational R.L. Stine Quotes for Writers

8. The Best William Zinsser Quotes on Writing

William Zinsser (1922-2015) was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. He is best known for his classic book On Writing Well. His books and blog articles offer great advice for anyone interested in writing. Writing to Learn is also worth reading.

1. We write to find out what we know and what we want to say. I thought of how often as a writer I had made clear to myself some subject I had previously known nothing about by just putting one sentence after another. – Writing to Learn, 1988

2. Writing is thinking on paper, or talking to someone on paper. If you can think clearly, or if you can talk to someone about the things you know and care about, you can write – with confidence and enjoyment. – On Writing Well, 1976

3. Write about things that are important to you, not about what you think readers will want to read. Readers don’t know what they want to read until they read it. If it’s important to you it will be important to other people. – American Scholar Blog, August 13, 2010

4. You are writing primarily to please yourself, and if you go about it with enjoyment you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for. – On Writing Well, 1976

5. Nobody can make us write what we don’t want to write. – American Scholar Blog, November 5, 2010

6. Give more thought to the longer trajectory of your life. Your most important work-in-progress is not the story you’re working on now. Your most important work-in-progress is you. – American Scholar Blog, June 3, 2011

7. Motivation is crucial to writing -students will write far more willingly if they write about subjects that interest them and that they have an aptitude for. – Writing to Learn, 1988

8. Something happened when I actually started to write. The book took on a life of its own and told me how it wanted to be written. – Writing to Learn, 1988

9. Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things that people do. – On Writing Well, 1976

For more William Zinsser Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 85+ Inspirational William Zinsser Quotes for Writers

9. The Best Neil Gaiman Quotes on Writing

Neil Gaiman (born 1960) is a best-selling English author best known for the graphic novel series, The Sandman and his fantasy novels (such as American Gods). His book, Coraline, was made into an award-winning film.

1. It’s the ideas – and the ability to put them down on paper, and turn them into stories – that make me a writer. That means I don’t have to get up early in the morning and sit on a train with people I don’t know, going to a job I despise. – Neil Gaiman Blog, Essays

2. You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it. – Neil Gaiman Blog, Essays

3. If you’re starting out as an author, you mostly can’t make a living, because you need to write, which takes time, and you need to eat while writing, and have a place to write, and that costs money, and when you do sell your first book it won’t be for much, because mostly first novels aren’t sold for much, and often they aren’t sold at all. –Neil Gaiman Blog, 2007b

4. The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before. –Neil Gaiman Blog, 2004

5. If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. –Neil Gaiman Blog, 2020

6. Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different. – The Reading Agency Lecture, 2013

7. We must tell our readers true things and give them weapons and give them armour and pass on whatever wisdom we have gleaned from our short stay on this green world – The Reading Agency Lecture, 2013

8. Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. – The Reading Agency Lecture, 2013

9. I don’t feel that writing about the real world means that I should be constrained to a version of reality that you see on the 11 o’clock news or read in the New York Times. I do not see why every single weapon in the arsenal of the imagination can’t be mine. – Rain Taxi Interview, 2001

For more Neil Gaiman Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 40+ Inspiring Neil Gaiman Quotes for Writers

10. The Best Steven Pressfield Quotes on Writing

Steven Pressfield (born in 1943) is an American author best known for his book The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was made into a film in 2000 (starring Will Smith and Matt Damon). In his books, The War of Art and Do the Work, Pressfield teaches how writers can overcome the challenges of writing.

1. Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got. – The War of Art, 2012

2. “What am I going to write about? What is my gift?” If I’m here to bring kind of a gift to the people as the hero’s journey template says, my question to myself is, “What is that gift?” – Tim Ferris Show Interview, 2021

3. We can’t control the level of talent we’ve been given. We have no control over the nature of our gift. What we can control is our self-motivation, our self-discipline, our self-validation, and our self-reinforcement. – Stevenpressfield.com

4. I joke that I was an overnight success after 30 years. And I think sometimes your bad luck builds up to such an extent that it turns into good luck. – Tim Ferris Show Interview, 2021

5. We all learn initially by copying. It’s very helpful (or at least it was for me) to copy a writer who has a very strong and distinctive voice. – Writing Routines Interview

6. Don’t think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act. – Do the Work, 2015

7. A work-in-progress generates its own energy field. You, the artist or entrepreneur, are pouring love into the work; you are suffusing it with passion and intention and hope. – Do the Work, 2015

8. Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. – The War of Art, 2012

For more Steven Pressfield Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 40+ Inspirational Steven Pressfield Quotes for Writers

11. The Best Malcolm Gladwell Quotes on Writing

Malcolm Gladwell (born 1963) is an English-Canadian author best known for his New York Times bestselling books such as Outliers, What the Dog Saw, Tipping Point, and Blink.  His works explore unexpected outcomes in especially in the fields of sociology and psychology.

1. It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us. – Outliers, 2008

2. My earliest memories of my father are of seeing him work at his desk and realizing that he was happy. I did not know it then, but that was one of the most precious gifts a father can give his child. – Outliers, 2008

3. Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good. – Outliers, 2008

4. Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head What The Dog Saw, 2009

5. The trick to finding ideas is to convince yourself that everyone and everything has a story to tell. I say trick but what I mean is challenge, because it’s a very hard thing to do. Our instinct as humans, after all, is to assume that most things are not interesting.  What The Dog Saw, 2009

6. It is really about talking to people, having people tell you things. That will always be the most efficient and useful way of finding out new and interesting things. You have to expose yourself to as many interesting people as you can. – Goodreads Interview, 2008

7. My writing model is my mother, who is a writer as well. She always valued clarity and simplicity above all else. If someone doesn’t understand what you’re writing, then everything else you do is superfluous. – Goodreads Interview, 2008

8. I think when one’s working, one works between absolute confidence and absolute doubt, and I got a huge dollop of each. What The Dog Saw, 2009

For more Malcolm Gladwell Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 20+ Inspiring Malcolm Gladwell Quotes for Writers

12. The Best Annie Dillard Quotes on Writing

Annie Dillard (born 1945) is an American author, best known for her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creekwhich won a Pulitzer Prize in 1975. She is also known for her book on writing, The Writing Life, which is packed with useful advice for any aspiring writer.

1. Writing a book is like rearing children -willpower has very little to do with it. If you have a little baby crying in the middle of the night, and if you depend only on willpower to get you out of bed to feed the baby, that baby will starve. You do it out of love. – Inventing the Truth, 1998

2. Caring passionately about something isn’t against nature, and it isn’t against human nature. It’s what we’re here to do. – Inventing the Truth, 1998

3. The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes. – The Writing Life (1989)

4. It should surprise no one that the life of the writer-such as it is – is colorless to the point of sensory deprivation. Many writers do little else but sit in small rooms recalling the real world. This explains why so many books describe the author’s childhood. A writer’s childhood may well have been the occasion of his only firsthand experience. – The Writing Life (1989)

5. People love pretty much the same things best. A writer, though, looking for subjects asks not after what he loves best, but what he alone loves at all. – The Writing Life (1989)

6. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality? – The Writing Life (1989)

7. I cannot imagine a sorrier pursuit than struggling for years to write a book that attempts to appeal to people who do not read in the first place. – The Writing Life (1989)

8. The sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you but only if you look for it. You search. You break your heart, your back, your brain and then and only then it is handed to you. – NPR Interview, 2016

9. The creative process obtains in all creative acts. So if I’m painting suddenly I’ll see something that I didn’t see before. – NPR Interview, 2016

For more Annie Dillard Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 45+ Inspiring Annie Dillard Quotes for Writers

13. The Best Jeff Goins Quotes on Writing

Jeff Goins (born in 1983) is an American author, blogger, and speaker.  He is the bestselling author of five books including The Art of Work, Real Artists Don’t Starve and You Are a Writer. His blog, goinswriter.com, receives over a million visitors every year.

1. Life is too short to do what doesn’t matter, to waste your time on things that don’t amount to much. What we all want is to know our time on earth has meant something. We can distract ourselves with pleasure for only so long before beginning to wonder what the point is. The Art of Work, 2015

2. I used to write a lot but didn’t consider myself a writer, so I used words like “aspiring” and “wannabe” to minimize my own gifts – mostly because I was scared. Then one day, a friend said, “You Are a Writer; you just need to write.” So I did, and before I realized it, I had an audience and a book deal. – Becoming Minimalist Interview, 2012

3. Creativity is not about being original; it’s about learning to rearrange what has already been in a way that brings fresh insight to old material. – Real Artists Don’t Starve, 2017

4. Everything is practice. Every word you write and action you take is a chance to get better. You Are a Writer, 2014

5. What doesn’t make a writer great is talent or intuition or giftedness. What makes a writer great is one thing: perseverance. – Copyblogger Interview, 2013

6. All good writing is copywriting. Every writer has to earn a reader’s attention, word by word and line by line. – Copyblogger Interview, 2013

7. I write every day, no excuses or exceptions. – Copyblogger Interview, 2013

8. If I can procrastinate or do something besides write, I will. So I force myself into a situation that requires me to write. That may mean a public deadline or going someplace I know won’t have wifi. I have to trick myself. – Copyblogger Interview, 2013

9. You can’t become who you are without pain, without trial. We grow when we are uncomfortable. And in a society that praises the status quo, we have to be careful we don’t miss our callings in life. If you’re playing it safe, it may be time to change. – Cole Bradburn Interview, 2012

If you want to learn how to write from Jeff Goins, check out his writing course at CreativeLive.

For more Jeff Goins Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 70+ Inspirational Jeff Goins Quotes for Writers

14. The Best Ernest Hemingway Quotes on Writing

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) is one of the most celebrated American authors. He received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He is best known for works such as A Farewell to Armsand The Old Man and the Sea.  You can find his thoughts on writing in his memoir A Moveable Feast and from a collection of his quotes, Ernest Hemingway on Writing.

1. I have to write to be happy whether I get paid for it or not. But it is a hell of a disease to be born with.  – Ernest Hemingway on Writing (1999)

2. Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. – Ernest Hemingway on Writing (1999)

3. The one who is doing his work and getting satisfaction from it is not the one the poverty bothers – A Moveable Feast (1964)

4. Write the best story that you can and write it as straight as you can. – A Moveable Feast (1964)

5. I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it. – A Moveable Feast (1964)

6. Writing is a hard business…but nothing makes you feel better. – Ernest Hemingway on Writing (1999)

7. Writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done – so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well. – Ernest Hemingway on Writing (1999)

8. Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now’. – A Moveable Feast (1964)

For more Ernest Hemingway Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 40+ Inspirational Ernest Hemingway Quotes for Writers

15. The Best Louis L’Amour Quotes on Writing

Louis L’Amour (1908- 1988) was a bestselling American author best known for his western novels. He wrote over 100 novels that have sold over 320 million copies and translated into over 20 languages. His autobiography, Education of a Wandering Man, contains great advice for any aspiring writer.

1. When at the typewriter I am no longer where I sit but am away across the mountains, in ancient cities or on the Great Plains among the buffalo. – Education of a Wandering Man, 1989

2. Who remembers the millionaires of the past? Who even remembers the popular heroes? But we do remember a poor stonecutter in Athens named Socrates, a thief from the gutters of Paris named Francois Villon, an actor in London called Shakespeare – Education of a Wandering Man, 1989

3. Often, ambitious young men or women write, wanting to work for me or assist me in my research. What they do not understand is that it is a labor of love, and I would relinquish no part of it at any price. I do not need help; I need time. – Education of a Wandering Man, 1989

4. Too often, the way taken is the wrong way, with too much emphasis on what we want to have, rather than what we wish to become. – Education of a Wandering Man, 1989

5. What few realize is that no writer is free to write exactly as he might wish. He is guided, to a great extent, by the tastes of readers and by the choices of editors. – Education of a Wandering Man, 1989

6. One is not, by decision, just a writer. One becomes a writer by writing, by shaping thoughts into the proper or improper words, depending on the subject, and by doing it constantly. – Education of a Wandering Man, 1989

7. A great book begins with an idea; a great life, with a determination. – Education of a Wandering Man, 1989

8. Gustave Flaubert said once that “Talent is nothing but long patience.” – Education of a Wandering Man, 1989

9. It’s important to remember that we are writing about people. Ideas are important only as they affect people. And we are writing about emotion. A few people reason, but all people feel. – Education of a Wandering Man, 1989

For more Louis L’Amour Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 60+ Inspirational Louis L’Amour Quotes for Writers

16. The Best Anne Frank Quotes on Writing

Anne Frank (1929 -1945) is best known for her book The Diary of a Young Girl, which documents her life in hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. Although she died at only 15, her writings have inspired and encouraged many.

1. Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is; I always used to bemoan the fact that I couldn’t draw, but now I’m overjoyed that at least I can write. And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. – The Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

2. I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! – The Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

3. I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me! – The Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

4. The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings; otherwise, I might suffocate. – The Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

5. When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! – The Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

6. Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old school girl. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I feel like writing. – The Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

7. I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write. – The Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

8. We have the opportunity to get an education and make something of ourselves. We have many reasons to hope for great happiness, but we have to earn it. And that is something you can’t achieve by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and working, not speculating and being lazy. – The Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

9. I’m my best and harshest critic. I know what’s good and what isn’t. – The Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

For more Anne Frank Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 20+ Inspirational Anne Frank Quotes for Writers

17. The Best Maya Angelou Quotes on Writing

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was an American Poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. A woman of many firsts, she overcame a difficult childhood to become one of America’s most celebrated poets.

1. When I’m writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. – The Paris Review Interview, 1990

2. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969

3. Making a decision to write was a lot like deciding to jump into a frozen lake. I knew I was going in, so I decided I might as well try what John Killens suggested as the deepest end. – The Heart of a Woman, 1981

4. I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music. – Conversations with Maya Angelou, 1989

5. There are those critics…who say, “Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer”. Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing. I work at the language. – The Paris Review Interview, 1990

6. I love what I’m doing. So I don’t mind working. I don’t mind the struggle. I owe it to the muse, to the creator.  – HBR Interview, 2013

7. You have to look to yourself. You must realize it’s not your brother’s life, it’s not your cousin’s life, it’s your life. You have this one chance to be yourself, and nobody else can be you but you. So try to be somebody you like. – Garage Interview

8. I understood early that not everything I did was going to be a masterpiece, but I would try to do it the best I knew how. I’ve listened to an inner voice and had enough courage to try unknown things. – HBR Interview, 2013

9. I’ll be celebrating my 85th birthday…I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around. I’ll probably be writing when the Lord says, “Maya, Maya Angelou, it’s time.” – Time, 2013

For more Maya Angelou Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 80+ Inspiring Maya Angelou Quotes for Writers

18. The Best Anais Nin Quotes on Writing

Anais Nin (1903-1977) is best known for her published diaries The Diary of Anaïs Nin which discussed various themes that were considered taboo in her time. Although her writings were considered controversial in her time, today she is considered an inspirational figure by many.

1. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

2. When I don’t write I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose my fire, my color. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

3. Art has the power to create something out of nothing, which can be lonely as those around us don’t understand our art and alienate us from society. The artist risks this alienation to attract those who can relate to his work. – The Artist as a Magician, 1973

4. The artist and the writer have generally paid the full price for their independence and for the privilege of doing work they love, or for their artistic rebellions against standardized living or values. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

5. Routine and discipline – that is, writing every day, and never erasing or crossing out – have been very important. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

6. Creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to receive, to nourish yourself, and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

7. You must not fear or hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and your feelings. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

8. What is weakness in the man becomes a quality in the writer. For he preserves, collects what will explode later in his work. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931-1934

9. Through books I discovered everything to be loved, explored, visited, communed with. I was enriched and given all the blueprints to a marvelous life, I was consoled in adversity, I was prepared for both joys and sorrows, I acquired one of the most precious sources of strength of all: an understanding of human beings, insight into their motivations. -The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 7, 1966-1974

For more Anais Nin Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 53+ Inspiring Anais Nin Quotes for Writers

19. The Best JK Rowling Quotes on Writing

JK Rowling (born 1965) is a bestselling English author best known for her Harry Potter series of books. Her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, has sold over 120 million copies making it one of the best-selling books of all time.

1. I had been very realistic about the likelihood of making a living out of writing children’s books -I knew it was exceptionally rare for anybody to do it -and that didn’t worry me. I prayed that I would make just enough money to justify continuing to write. – Salon Interview

2. Writing for me is a kind of compulsion, so I don’t think anyone could have made me do it, or prevented me from doing it. – Scholastic Interview

3. I don’t feel quite normal if I haven’t written for a while. – Salon Interview

4. I always advise children who ask me for tips on being a writer to read as much as they possibly can. – Salon Interview

5. Start by writing about things you know – your own experiences, your own feelings. That’s what I do. – Scholastic Interview

6. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you know you have very limited time. – Salon Interview

7. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. – Harvard Commencement Speech

8. We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better – Harvard Commencement Speech

9. I doubt I will ever again write anything as popular as the “Harry” books, but I can live with that thought quite easily. – Salon Interview

For more JK Rowling Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 35+ Inspiring JK Rowling Quotes for Writers

20. The Best William Faulkner Quotes on Writing

William Faulkner (1897-1962) is an American writer best known for his book The Sound and the Fury. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.  He was considered to be an innovative writer, especially in the development of the “stream of consciousness” narrative style. He is also one of the few writers to have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize more than once.

1. Writing is a solitary job – that is, no one can help you with it, but there’s nothing lonely about it. I have always been too busy, too immersed in what I was doing, either mad at it or laughing at it to have time to wonder whether I was lonely or not lonely. Faulkner in the University, 1959

2. Nothing can destroy the good writer. The only thing that can alter the good writer is death. Good ones don’t have time to bother with success or getting rich. The Paris Review Interview, 1956

3. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. The Paris Review Interview, 1956

4. That’s a very good way to learn the craft of writing – from reading. Faulkner in the University, 1959

5. A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination – any two of which, at times any one of which – can supply the lack of the others. The Paris Review Interview, 1956

6. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The Paris Review Interview, 1956

7. Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The Paris Review Interview, 1956

8. Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. The Paris Review Interview, 1956

For more William Faulkner Quotes (+ Biography and Sources Cited) see: 30+ Inspiring William Faulkner Quotes for Writers

Further Reading

Although writing can get frustrating at times, the rewards of persevering through the rough patches are worth it. Hopefully, the quotes have encouraged you and given you something to think about as you go through your writing journey.

Here are some more articles that will help you along your journey.