Inspirational Quotes for Writers

2 min read

How many times have you come across a quote and thought I should write that down? If you’re anything like me, the answer is: a lot. Finding meaning in someone else’s words is a joy, and as a writer I find comfort in the wisdom — and struggles (let’s be honest) — of others. It’s nice to know that not everyone gets “it” (or a seven figure deal for that matter) the first time out the gate.

“I try to remind myself how much I love to stitch words together to make a story that kids might enjoy reading,” says Kristiana Gregory, author of the young adult novel Stalked. The Robert Frost quote taped to her printer reads, “All the fun is in how you say a thing.”

Alexandra Foster, a former New York City-based freelance writer, turns to Ralph Waldo Emerson when she’s struggling:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

I have quotes all over my apartment. Above my desk I have Ernest Hemingway’s “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” And on my fridge there’s a small piece of paper with Andy Rooney’s words scribbled: “A writer’s job is to tell the truth.”

VH1 writer and blogger Kate Spencer says Andy Warhol’s honesty “speaks” to her — especially when he said: “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Each of us will take to certain phrases more than others, but in case you need a little inspiration these days, here are some quotes to consider:

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.” –Joseph Heller

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” –Stephen King

“You can make anything by writing.” –C.S. Lewis

“You can’t edit a blank page.” –Nora Roberts

You might also enjoy the Pinterest Pin Board we just started as a place to collect inspiring quotes for authors.

In the comments, tell us: What quotes inspire you as a writer?

99 thoughts on “Inspirational Quotes for Writers

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  1. All large creative projects tend to be similar. You start with a grand vision, sketch it out and quickly get bogged down in details. You come to believe that you will never reach the end of what you embarked on an endless span of time ago. You lose inspiration and find it again. You have to have faith. Faith that it will all work out once you’ve learned what things belong in the work and what things don’t.

    Marc Laidlaw, Writer of Half-life and Half-life 2

  2. “The poet’s job is to put into words those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name, to tell the truth in such a beautiful way that people cannot live without it.” – Jane Kenyon.

  3. “When you lose your fear of death you’ll begin to live. When you lose your fear of life you’ll begin to thrive”.

  4. sometimes wen someone is missing the whole world seems depopulated,also if it doesnt belong to you leave it alone,nd put your brain into gear before you open your mouth.

  5. “The job of an editor is to separate the wheat from the chaff and publish the chaff.” – H.L. Mencken

  6. Cry for whom and when worthwhile ….. Hello! Life is laugh, mourn, sing, and above all have fun with the problems, but few are as good mathematics, intractable problems Eye! – Difficult, not impossible.

    Llora por quien y cuando valga la pena….. Hello! La vida es reír, llorar, cantar, y sobre todo divertirse con los problemas, bueno aunque unos son como las matemáticas, problemas difíciles de resolver ¡Ojo! – Difíciles, no Imposibles.

  7. “Every character that plays a part in the Resolution should be introduced in the Set-Up, and make sure there’s some real Character Development otherwise there isn’t a real plot. If you bother to study Creative Writing at all, you’re better than 99% of the monkeys who normally resort to self-publishing.”

  8. I can give you peace; my peace I give you… but I cannot be your savior or your god – I cannot be the light along your path – I can only give you the lamp and point the way.

    – M Teresa Clayton

  9. Do not listen to the voice that shouts to you from behind desks, behind podiums, behind altars… do not pay attention to the orators and the opportunists. Do not be distracted by the promises made behind masks.

    Listen to the quiet. Listen to the whispers, as they gently guide you through the assaults of man’s absurdities. Listen to the gentle breathing of your mother and lay your head to rest in her peace and in her warm embrace, and understand that truth and power lie within you. Breathe silence.

  10. The skeleton key unlocks the mind and swings open the door of imagination.

    A far better place than here; A much safer place than there;

    The quintessential somewhere; The mystical nowhere;

    The enigmatic anywhere?

    My gift to you – the key to everywhere.

  11. “Even people in the dark search for
    their shadows.

    Shadows exist only if there is light.

    We will never find total darkness –
    not even in death… and we always
    cast a shadow, no matter how
    overcast our skies become.

    You are never alone.”

    – M Teresa Clayton

  12. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, next they fight you, then you win.” — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

    “Manners are more important than laws.” — Francis Bacon

    “The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.” — Henry Beston

  13. Life is to short to be upset with someone, You never know what might happen,so be happy and tell them you love them everyday dont let something come between you try to work it out because life short you never know what going to happen. Love each other

  14. Don’t start by looking for your enemies outside yourself, check out on your attitude first, it could be your biggest enemy, setting you against the world – Okelo P Patuda

  15. I love inspirational quotes from writers and try to contribute my own, the latest one being:
    When I’m writing, really writing, everything but breathing is an ignorable distraction.

  16. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
    – Barbara Kingsolver

    This is great advice and takes a huge burden off when you go to write something.

  17. My favourite quotes are Anais Nin’s “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write”, and a pithy line from Somerset Maugham; “There are three rules to writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

    They remind me that good writing is felt inside, and that no author ever had a monopoly on the right way to do things.

  18. The very wise Mark Twain wrote, “When we realise that we are all mad the mysteries disappear and life stands explained”. That quote guides me through life and explains everything about the people we meet (and have to endure)throughout our lives.

  19. Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
    Footprints in the sands of time…

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labour and to wait.

    Henry Longfellow

  20. “Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong. In life and in love and in business and in friendship and in all the other ways life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do:

    Make good art.

    -Neil Gaiman

  21. Every accomplishment in society started with a dream, and those dreams became reality through those that believed in them.

  22. The old saying gives me great hope in writing my books. (Everyday is a new beginning,) and when my mind is blank I smile to myself because I know what is around the corner, a brand new day, what more can I ask for.

  23. The writing which engages a person to the extent, that not to have break till complete it.
    Such writing can never be seeked, but it needs understanding, research and hardwork, that the words, stories and information shall overflow from the brain of writter. Maulana Wahiddudin Khan.

  24. I’ve collected lots of these over the years. This one I use as a sig line in emails:

    Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it. — Jesse Stuart

  25. “Of course truth is stranger than fiction. After all, fiction must be believable.” – Mark Twain

    And words of personal motivation for me: “Get famous, even if it takes every white blood cell you ever had.”

  26. My own 2 fave personal written quotes which I put in my book “Rose Meditations” & “Tossing Rose Petals to the Winds.”:

    “Life’s a Motherf7cKa when you’re standing in your OWN way!”

    ‘Even stumbling baby steps FORWARD, are QUANTUM LEAPS into brand new imaginative dimensions, unchartered territory of joy, and unexplored wonder wilderness.’

    – quotes by Author, Sears L Barnett Jr.

  27. we learn to be brave by being brave, you learn to persist by persisting,you learn to overcome by overcoming. the character you form and develop is directly proportional to the height or intensity of the quality demanded by the difficult situation, multiplied by the length of time that you demonstrate these quality in the face of adversity.

  28. It’s thought provoking, it stimulates your brain and increases you word power.

    Fiction novels are all of the above plus they are entertaining. Choose your genre, choose fiction.

  29. Words flow through my mental like the constants air and crimson which flow through my spirit and veins. They are just as essential to my being and purpose, such as the consistent pulse of life. For me, there is no life without my creativity. ~GD

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