Stuck for Ideas? 20 Quotes Telling You What To Write About

Picture of woman thinking of ideas

Would You Like to Find Ideas for What to Write About?

You want to write, so you sit down to begin. 

You stare at the blank page or screen. And stare. And stare.

After this happens a few times, you come to the conclusion: “I want to write, but I don’t know what to write about”. You shelve your writing dreams and believe you’ll never be a writer.

Here are some ideas disguised as quotes to banish blank page blues and get you started:

 

Write your truth

 

1. If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~ Toni Morrison

2. Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come the most unsought for are commonly the most valuable. ~ Francis Bacon

3. The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. ~ Neil Gaiman

4. I dare you all to write one more thing that you won’t say to my face. ~ Marilyn Manson

5. Write books only if you are going to say in them the things you would never dare confide to anyone. ~ Emile M. Cioran

6. Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. ~ Cyril Connolly

 

Write your experience

 

7. I write for myself things that I’ve gone through. ~ Dolly Parton

8. I write out of my intellectual experience. ~ Tom Stoppard

9. You write about what you know. ~ Larry David

10. And if you don’t live, you have nothing to write about. ~ James Maynard Keenan

11. If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it. ~ Anais Nin

 

Write what gives you pleasure

 

12. Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure. Emotion is easily transferred from the writer to the reader. ~ Joseph Joubert

13. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself. ~ Jack Kerouac

14. Usually, I walk and think about things. When I come across a thought that makes me laugh, I write it down. ~Demetri Martin

15. I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze. ~ D. H. Lawrence

16. Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for. ~ Ray Bradbury

 

Write to know more

 

17. I write books to find out about things. ~ Rebecca West

18. Writing a story … is simply an exploration of the nature of behavior: why people do what they do, how it affects others, how we change and grow, and what decisions we make along the way. ~ Lois Lowry

19. I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. ~ Joan Didion

 

In a nutshell…

 

20. And by the way, everything in life is writable about, if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt~ Sylvia Plath

 

Each day you sit down (or stand up, or lie down!) to write, you face different challenges to your writing. How do you decide what to write about? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

 

About the author:

Vinita Zutshi is a writer, editor, storyteller and parenting coach. She is also Guest Post Editor at Write to Done and Content Editor at A-List Blogging.

Image: Thinking of ideas courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com

 

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27 Responses to “Stuck for Ideas? 20 Quotes Telling You What To Write About”

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  1. Great list of inspirational quotes. I will keep them posted within my line of sight as I write. Thank you for putting these together, Vinita.
    M.G. de Fierro recently posted..Imagining Beyond the ScreenMy Profile

    • I gained so much in the writing of the post, M.G. I’m glad you found it useful. I’ve found from experience that so long as you’re feeling it as you write it, and you can feel it days later when you take it out to read once more, then it looks like you’re on the right track. What do you feel?
      Vinita Zutshi recently posted..Violent Children: What if Your Child Hits You?My Profile

      • M.G, given you work with tomorrows (refreshing post! :-) ), how do you think people will face the blank page in the future? An idea might find its way onto the page or screen, but what if there are no ideas – should we just follow Francis Bacon’s advice?
        Vinita Zutshi recently posted..Violent Children: What if Your Child Hits You?My Profile

        • Thank you for visiting my humble little post.

          I think the blank page exists predominantly in our mind, and that will give us the greatest opportunity for advancement.

          By that I mean that if it were possible to record our thoughts and ideas for our stories as quickly as we think them, then we might find that a great revolution in our process.

          Will it mean that the stream of consciousness style of writers like James Joyce will become the norm? I’m not sure it will. I think the ability to readily understand the story and enjoy it will always win.

          Perhaps we will have the ability to filter ideas and thoughts and then process them, edit them and mold them to our pleasure, then distribute them to a greater audience. It could be done through a verbal interface. We might find ourselves telling a story to a virtual listener who then plays it out for others to enjoy. Think of a marriage between the novelist and the playwright. Perhaps that difference will be meaningless in future.

          Or, there is also the possibility of turning novels into dreams that the audience can fall into. There are many possibilities that occur to me both wondrous and frightening.

          Do I believe the experience of holding a book and reading it will disappear entirely? Probably not, but in some of the future worlds I foresee there may not be much leisure time spent on that particular joy. You never know.

          I do feel that the desire to escape reality, whether by reading or watching or dreaming is inherent to our nature. The demand for entertainment will not vanish. If anything, I expect it may exponentially increase.

          I don’t believe ideas will disappear. They are inherent to our nature. As for Francis Bacon, I confess that I am lost. I do not know what advice he may have offered in this regard. I’d be interested to learn, if you’d like to share.

          I think of Thurber. There is an anecdote I have kept in mind for years when life did not afford me the luxury to sit down and write my heart out. Supposedly, Thurber was at a swanky party with his wife. While she mingled, he just stood still in the middle of the room, staring off into space. His wife was annoyed and went up to him. “James! Whatever are you doing?” she asked. “Writing, of course,” was his reply.

          Maybe it happened. Maybe it didn’t. I heard it when I was in High School and it has stayed with me all these many years. It made me laugh, and more importantly it gave me hope.

          Sorry this comment was so long. Thanks again for visiting my zygote of a blog.

          I guess I’ll go back to standing in the middle of the room writing now.
          M.G. de Fierro recently posted..Imagining Beyond the ScreenMy Profile

  2. Jarm says:

    Thanks! I enjoyed reading these quotes. . .
    Jarm recently posted..Tool #41: Turn procrastination into rehearsal.My Profile

  3. Esther says:

    I love this list. I cannot decide which one to post on my writing desk so I printed it out : ).
    Esther recently posted..How to be A Superhero (even if you feel old)My Profile

    • Thanks, Esther! I get so many emails from readers saying they’re stumped for inspiration on what to write about. I’m hoping this will help people break through that barrier.

      And, of course, it’s a handy resource to turn to when my mind goes blank… :-)

      I enjoyed the wonderful examples in your post about how people who’ve started out ‘late’ have achieved great success.
      Vinita Zutshi recently posted..Violent Children: What if Your Child Hits You?My Profile

  4. Mylene says:

    This is really nice. Thank you.

    • Mylene, I’m glad you found this useful. So which one do you normally use for inspiration? Or which one are you planning to try – just to step out of character, so to speak?

  5. smbergin says:

    Thanks for pulling together this list of great quotes. Loved reading it.

  6. Terrance Austin says:

    Great list of qoutes. To answer the question (How do I decide what to write about?) I observe and watch what happens in our society. The desire to give hurting people a voice prompts me to create a world for them where they can find solace. Example: The bully victim, caregiver to sick spouse/ relative with terminal or mental illness (PTSD). The pain around us in everyday life sparks a desire in me to tell inspirational stories of tragedy followed by triumph. But primarily through the victims perspective. My own quote inspired by GOD… IF I WRITE ONE STORY CHANGING ONE LIFE, TO ME,” THAT’S TRUE SUCCESS. ~Writer Terrance Leon Austin~

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      Terrance, that’s such a wonderful thought! If we keep our eyes peeled, we’ll never be short of ‘stories’ to tell.

      Good luck with your writing!

  7. Dan Erickson says:

    Great list of quotes. I write for a bit of each of the categories you mentioned. But mostly I write for the love of writing.

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      It’s definitely the love of writing that keeps most of us going, Dan!

      Thanks for sharing.

  8. Great list. In fact, I can’t tell which is my personal favourite. Well, that’s alright — I often don’t always bother about having favourites in real life.

    And about how I decide what to write about:

    I must be honest with you Mrs. Vinita that I still haven’t gain that much confidence that I can write well. Since English is a second language for me, my greatest fear is making grammar mistakes. But I write anyway! :)

    I decide to write in series — what young people need to know, learn, change, and grow with; and I draw inspiration from reading quotes and blogs on the subject I want to write about.

    I love the step-by-step approach to anything. So I believe that young people can start their journey to effectiveness, no matter what age they are.

    Once again, this is an invaluable list. Love it!

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      Writing is a journey that goes on forever, David. We’re always learning.

      It’s good to know that you don’t let anything hold you back. All the best with your writing!

  9. Andre Cruz says:

    Great advice. I like to write what gives me pleasure. It keeps my motivated enough to break my writer’s block.

    http://www.andrecruz.net
    Andre Cruz recently posted..Creative Writing Tips for Character DevelopmentMy Profile

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      You are so right, Andre. Where there’s passion, there cannot be writer’s block.

      Thanks for sharing!

  10. rama says:

    I Loved all your quotes, and would surely use them for inspiration It was the blank page that drove me to look for sites like this. Thank you.
    rama recently posted..Blast From The Past: Poems Loved By MeMy Profile

  11. c says:

    I like to write about my pet peeves.