How To Become a Good Writer: 50 Quotes From The Greats

become a good writer

You want to write.

But you’re not sure if that makes you a writer.

And you don’t just want to be any kind of writer; you want to become a good writer.

It’s an exciting goal, but what’s the pathway?

How to you get there?

We’ve collected 50 inspiring quotes from writers for you. These writers share their experience of how to become a good writer.

Some are wise, others are hilarious.

Read them to be inspired, sustained and entertained on your journey as a writer.

How to Become a Good Writer

Inspiration

  1. “I feel like part of getting better at writing is knowing where to find that inspiration. Right after something happens to me, the first thing I’ll do is go write when those feelings are really, really fresh.” ~ Troye Sivan
  2. “I’m not patient at all. I avoid writer’s block by writing. I power through with a bad version, so I can move on, and usually once I’ve gotten to the next scene, I’ll discover what was missing from the bad version scene. Then I can easily rewrite it to get back on the right path.” ~ Anders Holm
  3. “I think one of the keys to better writing is releasing all of your ideas and to not be afraid. Dream big. This could be the greatest novel in the world you know.” ~ Adora Svitak
  4. “Writers get ideas all day every day. The FedEx guy delivers a package from Sears and the writer is thinking how it could actually be a ticking time bomb.” ~ Dan Alatorre
  5. “Writers don’t forget the past; they turn it into raw material.” ~ Joyce Rachelle
  6. “Coffee, my delight of the morning; yoga, my delight of the noon. Then before nightfall, I run along the pleasant paths of the Jardin du Luxembourg. For when air cycles through the lungs, and the body is busy at noble tasks, creativity flows like water in a stream: the artist creates, the writer writes.” ~ Roman Payne
  7. “Daily life is always extraordinary when rendered precisely. We can unlock our lives with a pencil tip.” ~ Bonnie Friedman
  8. “Always carry with you a pen and a notebook or a journal to write the thoughts that flashes in a moments.” ~ Lailah GiftyAkitah
  9. “An idea for a story can be anything. The sky is not the limit, the limit is beyond it.” ~ Chrys Fey
  10. “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” ~ Isaac Asimov
  11. “Don’t worry about writing a book or getting famous or making money. Just lead an interesting life.” ~  Michael Morpurgo
  12. “People who say you’ll never amount to much as a writer (or even those exhibiting indifference) are speaking from gross ignorance. They are comparing your stumbling, incomplete draft – seen or unseen – and their anecdotal knowledge of you as a person to their favourite writer’s best-selling novel. Unfair in the extreme.” ~ Scott Nicol

    Characters

  13. “Fantasy is my favorite genre for reading and writing. We have more options than anyone else, and the best props and special effects. That means if you want to write a fantasy story with Norse gods, sentient robots, and telepathic dinosaurs, you can do just that. Want to throw in a vampire and a lesbian unicorn while you’re at it? Go ahead.” ~ Patrick Rothfuss
  14. “Don’t just write a strong female protagonist. Be one.” A.D. Posey
  15. “I think every fiction writer, to a certain extent, is a schizophrenic and able to have two or three or five voices in his or her body. We seek, through our profession, to get those voices onto paper.” ~ Ridley Pearson
  16. “Sometimes I wonder if I’m a character being written, or if I’m writing myself.” ~ Marilyn Manson
  17. “I enjoy writing about people falling in love, probably because I think the first time you fall in love is the first time that you have to figure out how you’re going to orient your life. What are you going to value? What’s going to be most important to you? And I think that’s really interesting to write about.” ~ John Green
  18. “From Ernest Hemingway’s stories, I learned to listen within my stories for what went unsaid by my characters.” ~ Nadine Gordimer
  19. “People are much more complicated in real life, but my characters are as subtle and nuanced as I can make them. But if you say my characters are too black and white, you’ve missed the point. Villains are meant to be black-hearted in popular novels. If you say I have a grey-hearted villain, then I’ve failed.” ~ Ken Follett
  20. “I like to push characters to extremes so they have to make really tough decisions and there is no life more extreme than that of an athlete. Chris Cleave
  21. “Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day’s progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.” ~ John Updike
  22. “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
  23. “I keep an elaborate calendar for my characters detailing on which dates everything happens. I’m constantly revising this as I go along. It gives me the freedom to intricately plot my story, knowing it will at least hold up on a timeline.” ~ Maria Semple

    Craft

  24. “I think young writers should get other degrees first, social sciences, arts degrees or even business degrees. What you learn is research skills, a necessity because a lot of writing is about trying to find information.” ~ Irvine Welsh
  25. “I write by hand, making many, many corrections. I would say I cross out more than I write. I have to hunt for words when I speak, and I have the same difficulty when writing.” ~ Italo Calvino
  26. “I often will write a scene from three different points of view to find out which has the most tension and which way I’m able to conceal the information I’m trying to conceal. And that is, at the end of the day, what writing suspense is all about.” ~ Dan Brown
  27. “Really good writing, from my perspective, runs a lot like a visual on the screen. You need to create that kind of detail and have credibility with the reader, so the reader knows that you were really there, that you really experienced it, that you know the details. That comes out of seeing.” ~ Ann Voskamp
  28. “What I do say is that I can write verse, and that the writing of verse in strict form is the best possible training for writing good prose.” ~ Philip Pullman
  29. “The one thing emphasized in any creative writing course is ‘write what you know,’ and that automatically drives a wooden stake through the heart of imagination. If they really understood the mysterious process of creating fiction, they would say, ‘You can write about anything you can imagine.'” ~ Tom Robbins
  30. “My first draft is usually how I meant it, but my second and third drafts is how I want to be understood.” ~ Selena Haskins
  31. “If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
  32. “The thing that makes vivid writing is when the reader is in the body of the story, the body of the character. Things smell like something; there’s weather, there’s texture, there’s light.” ~ Janet Fitch
  33. “Let me back up a little and tell you why I prefer writing to real life: You can rewrite. A novel, for example, can be cleaned up, altered, trimmed, improved. Life, on the other hand, is one big messy rough draft.” ~ Harlan Coben
  34. “When I’m writing, I am concentrating almost wholly on concrete detail: the color a room is painted, the way a drop of water rolls off a wet leaf after a rain.” ~ Donna Tartt
  35. “There’s a rule of writing: if everything is funny, nothing is funny; if everything is sad, nothing is sad. You want that contrast.” ~ J. Michael Straczynski

    The Experience of Writing

  36. “Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  37. “For years, there was no man in the house when my husband was off on law cases in the Far East. Without writing, I would have been bored and unfaithful, maybe both, and the children would have been hideously over-protected.” ~ Jane Gardam
  38. “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” ~ E. B. White
  39. “It may sound very strange, but I love the freedom that writing a novel gives me. It is an unhindered experience. If I come after a bad day, I can decide that my protagonist will die on page 100 of my novel in a 350-page story.” ~ Ashwin Sanghi
  40. “A good writer reveals beauty in the mundane and truth in tragedy. Words are a tool; a currency of the mind, and the best writers weave passages into our hearts that our bones remember.” ~ Maria Reeves
  41. “When I am 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. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language. I’m trying to see how it can really sound. I really love language. I love it for what it does for us, how it allows us to explain the pain and the glory, the nuances and delicacies of our existence. And then it allows us to laugh, allows us to show wit. Real wit is shown in language. We need language.” ~ Maya Angelou
  42. “I think… the most brilliant thing about being a writer is that if you don’t like the way the world is, you can create your own.” ~ Maegan Cook
  43. “…writing allows us to reposition ourselves so we can see what is otherwise in our mental blind spots or those things about oneself and the world that we neither can see nor understand from the spot where we stand.” Rob Bignell
  44. “I suppose there must be idiots who dream of signing deals with publishers while fully intending to drink martinis in cool bars or ride around on skateboards. But the actual writers I know are experts in neurotic self-torture. Every page of writing is the result of a thousand tiny decisions and desperate acts of will.” ~ Helen Garner
  45. “When I am writing best, I really am lost in my world. I lose track of the outside world. I have a difficult time balancing between my real world and the artificial world.” ~ George R. R. Martin
  46. “You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or, rather, you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
  47. “I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.” ~ Anna Quindlen
  48. “Writing is a solitary experience. I’m extremely superstitious. If I talk about the book or name the title out loud before finishing, I feel the energy I need to write will be drained. It’s so intimate, I can’t even share it with my wife.” ~ Paulo Coelho
  49. “I don’t remember deciding to become a writer. You decide to become a dentist or a postman. For me, writing is like being gay. You finally admit that this is who you are, you come out and hope that no one runs away.” ~ Mark Haddon
  50. “I think myself I ought to be shot for writing such nonsense… But it’s unquestionably good escapist literature, and I think I should rather like it if I were sitting in an air-raid shelter or recovering from flu.” ~ Georgette Heyer

Conclusion

What’s the next step after reading these quotes?

The next step is to open a page and start putting words on it. Whether you write great sentences or clumsy sentences, whether what you write makes sense or not… it doesn’t matter.

First drafts are always clumsy and awkward.

The only thing that matters is that you put words onto a page.

Not some day in the future, but today!

What are your favorite tips on writing? Tell us in the comments, and share this post if you liked it!

About the author

Mary Jaksch

Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com. Grab a copy of her free report, How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet in Less Than 5 Hours. In her “spare” time, Mary’s also the brains behind AlistBlogging.net. and GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt. Join her FREE online training, 5 Powerful Online Writing Strategies for More Shares, More Subscribers, and More success. CLICK HERE

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