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The Best Writing Quotes That Ever Existed

Over the last 2 plus years, I’ve enjoyed posting a lot about the writing styles of famous authors.

To this day, the most popular post on my blog is about Jonathan Franzen’s 10 Rules For Writing. But I’ve posted about many other writers and their insights about their craft as well—Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, John Steinbeck, C.S. Lewis and others.

How about some of those tips in one easy to find place? Well, here you go!

Here’s some great writing tips from authors I’ve talked about on 101 Books, plus a few others for good measure:

“Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material”. – John Steinbeck

“Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.” – C.S. Lewis

Or, as George Orwell puts it:

“Never use a long word where a short one will do.” – George Orwell

“Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.” –Jonathan Franzen

“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

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” –Mark Twain

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” –Stephen King

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”  –Winston Churchill

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” –Ernest Hemingway

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” –Anton Chekhov

I love that last one. Such a great quote.

I’ve never been one to like the typical inspirational quote, but I love quotes about writing because they are practical. And for me, that bit of practical instruction inspires me so I don’t need a picture of a sunset in the background with a fancy font. But that’s just me. And I’m weird.

Feel free to share your favorite writing quotes in the comments!

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22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on ΗΒιννο.

    Like

    November 9, 2012
  2. Great post ! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I very much agree with Stephen King’s quote. For a person to be a good writer, he must read a lot. I learnt this very late though.

    Great tip by John Steinbeck on the rewriting process !

    Like

    November 9, 2012
    • Ryan #

      I think Faulkner said something similar when he recommended that people read everything: fiction, non-fiction, romance, etc.

      Like

      November 9, 2012
      • I think you mean this quote – ““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.” ” .
        It is wonderful 🙂 Thanks for the tip !

        Like

        November 9, 2012
  3. Nice post, I’ve always been partial to Elmore Leonard’s “I try to leave out the parts people tend to skip.”

    Like

    November 9, 2012
  4. Siuon #

    “Omit needless words” by William Strunk

    Like

    November 9, 2012
    • Yep. Strunk and White. I’m looking at a copy on my desk right now.

      Like

      November 9, 2012
  5. LOL I love Fitzgerald’s quote! I clearly use too many exclamation points, which is fitting, because it feels a little like punctuating with a laugh track on a sitcom. Laugh with me, people. Laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 9, 2012
  6. Checkov contradicts Vonnegut. I agree with Fitzgerald.

    Like

    November 9, 2012
  7. I read “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood a long time ago, and while I don’t remember the plot or the characters, this quote has stuck with me through the years:

    “The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.”

    It’s a less brutal version of Hemingway’s quote.

    Like

    November 9, 2012
  8. I honestly cannot remember if it was in the afterward of a Stephen King or Dean Koontz novel, but one of them wrote nearly 20 years ago that people often come up to him and said, “I always wanted to be a writer.” His answer, “If you wanted to be a writer, you would be writing.” That one always stuck with me.

    Like

    November 9, 2012
  9. DearStephenKing #

    One of my favourite quotes is the Stephen King one mentioned above.

    Like

    November 10, 2012
  10. thefashionablereader #

    I love the quotes you picked. I would love to write my own novel one day, so reading these quotes gives me more confidence about doing it 🙂

    Like

    November 11, 2012
  11. used one of your quotes on my post today – nov 12

    Like

    November 12, 2012
  12. Rita Bellinger #

    Reblogged this on The Wordy Photographer and commented:
    When I edit I delete “very” a lot but when I’m writing I use it like crazy. It’s a habit I’m trying to break so I’m officially going to try Mark Twain’s “damn” trick in my own writing.

    Like

    November 12, 2012
  13. I love quotes on writing. There are many quotes down the edge of my page. I may lift a few of these. 🙂

    Like

    November 12, 2012
  14. The Chekhov quote summed it up well. In the end it is a story under the moon that we may all need to know.

    Like

    November 13, 2012
  15. Reblogged this on kenyanvoice and commented:
    for writers

    Like

    April 8, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, November 8 and 9, 2012 « cochisewriters
  2. The Best Writing Quotes That Ever Existed « jack & Liz
  3. Getting Lost and Writing While Naked « Diary of a Possible Polymath

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