Where to Find Inspiration: 50 Quotes for Writers

quotes for writers Do you want to know where to find inspiration for writing? Take a look at these quotes for writers.

How to live the creative life

1. To live a creative life we must first lose the fear of being wrong. ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

2. Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose…not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.
~Anne Sullivan Macy

3. 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

4. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance. ~ Samuel Johnson

How to be a writer

5. The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to says ~Anais Nin

6. Start before you’re ready. ~Steven Pressfield

7. Do the work. ~Steven Pressfield

8. If you want to be a writer, you must do two things about all others:  read a lot and write a lot…reading is the creative center of a writer’s life…you cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you. ~Stephen King

9. There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~Ernest Hemingway

10. Writing is like sex; you don’t have to wait until you’re an expert to begin doing it. ~ Anonymous

11. Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere ~Anne Lamott

12. A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. ~Richard Bach

13. The desire to write grows with writing. ~Desiderius Erasmus

14. The great advantage of being a writer is that you can spy on people. You’re there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing. Everything is useful to a writer, you see—every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties. ~Graham Greene

15. Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, “Listen to me”. ~Jhumpa Lahiri

16.  Don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work ~Pearl S. Buck

17. The one ironclad rule is that I have to try. I have to walk into my writing room and pick up my pen every weekday morning. ~Anne Tyler

18. Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing. ~E. L. Doctorow

Where to find inspiration

19. Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time. ~ Leonard Bernstein

20. Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy. ~ Pyotr Tchaikovsky

21. Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. ~ Stephen King

22. I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning. ~P eter De Vries

23. If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter. ~ Dan Poynter

Advice on writing

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

25. Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon. ~ E.L. Doctorow

26. Write with the complete palette of emotions. ~ Cindy Lambert

27. Write your first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head. ~ Mike Rich

28. The difference between the almost right word and the right work is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. ~ Mark Twain

29. I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~ Elmore Leonard

30. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very;” otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. ~ C.S. Lewis

31. First, find out what your hero wants. Then just follow him. ~ Ray Bradbury

32. 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

33. When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. ~ Raymond Chandler

34. The objective of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story …to make him/her forget, whenever possible, that he/she is reading a story at all. Stephen King

35. Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. 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

36. Fiction does not spring into the world fully grown, like Athena. It is the process of writing and rewriting that makes a fiction original, if not profound. ~ John Gardner

37. It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does. ~ William Faulkner

38. Writing a novel is like heading out over the open sea in a small boat. It helps if you have a plan and a course laid out. ~ John Gardner

39. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action. ~ William Shakespeare

What to write

40. Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

41. Write what you know. Write what you want to know more about. Write what you’re afraid to write about. ~ Cec Murphy

42. Write about what makes you different. ~ Sandra Cisneros

43. Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way. ~ Ray Bradbury

44. Never tell a story because it is true:  tell it because it is a good story. ~ John Penland Mahaffy

Writer’s Block

45. You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block. ~ John Rogers

46. I’ve often said that there’s no such thing as writer’s block; the problem is idea block. When I find myself frozen–whether I’m working on a brief passage in a novel or brainstorming about an entire book–it’s usually because I’m trying to shoehorn an idea into the passage or story where it has no place. ~ Jeffery Deaver

47. I think writer’s block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible. But as a writer, I believe that if you sit down at the keys long enough,  sooner or later something will come out. ~ Roy Blount, Jr.


48. Mistakes are the portals of discovery. ~ James Joyce

49. Failure? I never encountered it. All I ever met were temporary setbacks. ~ Dottie Walters

50. You fail only if you stop writing. ~ Ray Bradbury

So don’t keep dreaming  - keep writing.

What are your favorite quotes for writers?

Cheryl Craigie blogs at The Manageable Life. Please check it out if you’re interested in making changes in your life.


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33 Responses to “Where to Find Inspiration: 50 Quotes for Writers”

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  1. These are lovely, thank you! Looking forward to the book! :-)
    Vinita Zutshi recently posted..Violent Children: What if Your Child Hits You?My Profile

  2. There’s a few here that I’d never heard before. Thanks for adding some inspiration to my day! My favourite quote about writing is this:

    “The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.” ~Mark Twain

  3. My alltime favourite quote is: Writing is staring at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. By Gene Fowler. (So true. So unnecessary!)
    Daphne Gray-Grant recently posted..A thousand belly flops of terrorMy Profile

  4. Archan Mehta says:

    Thank you for publishing these quotes. Very inspirational first thing in the morning. It really picks you up.

    However, I wish you would not limit the list to only famous authors, writers and literary types.

    Those of us on the margins should also be allowed to contribute quotes of our own. This makes sense, because your blog is about creatives and creativity.

    So, you should encourage original contributions from your readers and subscribers. That way, we can all learn from each other. A lot of the best writing, in fact, comes from the marginal masters and not just from established ones.

    Please expand our horizons by allowing us to contribute quotes–a product of our own imagination. Cheers.

    • Cheryl says:

      Hi Archan–

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. For this post and the eventual ebook we were specifically interested in quotes that inspired our Dream Team. Perhaps in the future we’ll consider asking folks to submit quotes that they’ve written.

      I did keep a copy of the quotes you wrote and, if we elect to do that type of project, I’ll certainly consider adding your submissions to the collection,

      Take care,

      Cheryl recently posted..Do you know how much is enough?My Profile

  5. Your quotes are wonder booster. I have one to offer. Failure is not an end but a catalyst that inspire you to success.

  6. These quotes are energizing! Thanks for sharing them!

    One of my favorite quotes: Skills in description, dialogue, and character development all boil down to seeing or hearing clearly and then transcribing what you see or hear with equal clarity (and without using a lot of tiresome, unnecessary adverbs).

  7. The quote I just contributed is from Stephen King in his book, On Writing.

  8. Here are a few more inspirational quotes for writers:

    Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for.
    — Mark Twain

    If you want to be a writer — stop talking about it and sit down and write!
    — Jackie Collings

    Writing is a profession in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none.
    — Jules Renard

    The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity.
    — Thomas Carlyle

    Nobody ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have while trying to write one.
    — Robert Byrne

    Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom, but they dare to go it alone.
    — John Updike

    You don’t write because you want to say something: You write because you’ve got something to say.
    — F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Writing a book is an incredible, satisfying experience.
    It is a way to connect with the world.
    It tells the world who you are.
    It makes you an authority on what you write about.
    It’s a swell way to eventually make money from your own creative efforts and feel much better for it.
    A good book excites readers to self-discovery and making a difference in this world while you yourself make a difference.
    You should write at least one.
    — from “Look Ma, Life’s Easy” ( http://www.amazon.com/Look-Lifes-Easy-Inspirational-ebook/dp/B008F4W73G/ )

    The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.
    — Author Unknown

    Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.
    — Thomas Berger

    How to Become a Best-Selling Author:
    • Pick a topic you are interested in.
    • Think about the topic a lot.
    • Think about it some more.
    • Develop your own unique theory about what it all means.
    • Just do it — go out and test your theory.
    • Write a book about it.
    — Roy Williams

    The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new.
    — William Makepeace Thackeray

    Write drunk; edit sober.
    — Ernest Hemingway

    Syzygy, inexorable, pancreatic, phantasmagoria — anyone who can use those four words in one sentence will never have to do manual labor.
    — W. P. Kinsella

    Incidentally, these come from the “Writers” webpage on the Sensational Quotes for Smart Peoplw which I believe has the best collection of quotations about writers and writing:

    Ernie Zelinski
    International Best-Selling Author, Innovator, and Prosperity Life Coach
    Author of “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
    (Over 150,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and “The Joy of Not Working”
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)
    Ernie Zelinski recently posted..Dying Early as a Retirement PlanMy Profile

  9. What lovely quotes! I always love reading quotes about writing. They always brighten up my day and make me smile… :)

  10. Madeline says:

    Thank you for sharing these! I really love quotes and am always looking for new ones to pin up on my vision board :)

  11. Dana says:

    Great quotes. Thanks for sharing.
    Dana recently posted..Blogging Through the Book: Focus on YesMy Profile

  12. Great results from a great project. Now we should all stop waiting for inspiration and sit down at the computer and bleed.

    Beth@Boomer Highway
    Beth @ Boomer Highway (twitter) recently posted..Constant Connection: Are You Addicted to Your IPhone?My Profile