75 Inspiring Writing Quotes From The World’s Best & Greatest Writers

Whether you are a beginner writer or have been working on your craft for years already, reading some words of inspiration and wisdom is always helpful. Writing can be both incredibly satisfying and, at the same time, frustrating when you experience writer’s block. However, if you love to write, you know that creative blocks are simply a part of the process. If you are a professional writer, you know how heavy the process can be, but the satisfaction of getting your thoughts and ideas on the page with clarity and impact is such a joy.

In this article, we have included some inspiring, motivating, thoughtful, and creative ideas to overcome that writers block and get your creative juices flowing, from some of the world’s most renowned novelists such as Stephen King and Haruki Murakami to classic writers such as Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Below we have included writing quotes for inspiration and motivation, quotes for students and beginner writers, quotes about bad writing, and quotes about nonfiction writing. So, no matter your niche, you will find something below to get your mind working and your heart ready for the page.

Quotes About Writing

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of job: It’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” – Neil Gaiman

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” – Somerset Maugham

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering… these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.” – Walt Whitman

writing quotes

Writing and Reading Quotes

“Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.” – Annie Proulx

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

“For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.” – Eudora Welty

“The Six Golden Rules of Writing: Read, read, read, and write, write, write.” – Ernest Gaines

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King

Writing Quotes for Students

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” – Henry David Thoreau

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” – Robert Frost

“It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.” – P.D. James

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” – Elmore Leonard

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” – Harper Lee

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” – Terry Pratchett

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” – Frank Herbert

“I just give myself permission to suck. I delete about 90 percent of my first drafts, so it doesn’t really matter much if on a particular day I write beautiful and brilliant prose that will stick in the minds of my readers forever because there’s a 90 percent chance I’m just going to delete whatever I write anyway. I find this hugely liberating.” – John Green

 “I would advise any beginning writer to write the first drafts as if no one else will ever read them — without a thought about publication — and only in the last draft to consider how the work will look from the outside.” – Anne Tyler

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually, you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” – Octavia E. Butler

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” – Franz Kafka

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” – Ray Bradbury

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” – Jane Yolen

writing quotes

Writing Motivation Quotes

 “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

 “Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.” – Stephen King

“Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.” – Mark Twain

“When I start to write, I don’t have any plan at all. I just wait for the story to come. I don’t choose what kind of story it is or what’s going to happen.” – Haruki Murakami

“I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it.” – Chinua Achebe

“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” – George Orwell

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” – Natalie Goldberg

“The story must strike a nerve in me. My heart should start pounding when I hear the first line in my head. I start trembling at the risk.” – Susan Sontag

“If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” – Dan Poynter

“Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.” – James Baldwin

 “You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page.” – Annie Proulx

“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. . . . For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. . . . But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.” – Ira Glass

“[Be] willing to write really badly.” – Jennifer Egan

“Go inside where silence is. Stay there. Let words bubble up.” – Maxime Lagacé

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac

writing quotes

“My short stories are like soft shadows I have set out in the world, faint footprints I have left. I remember exactly where I set down each and every one of them and how I felt when I did. Short stories are like guideposts to my heart.” – Haruki Murakami

“Find your best time of the day for writing. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterward, it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess.” – Esther Freud

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E. L. Doctorow

“Write while the heat is in you… The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” – Henry David Thoreau

“A writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.” – E.B. White

“A short story I have written long ago would barge into my house in the middle of the night, shake me awake and shout, ‘Hey, this is no time for sleeping! You can’t forget me, and there’s still more to write!’ Impelled by that voice, I would find myself writing a novel. In this sense, too, my short stories and novels connect inside me in a very natural, organic way.” – Haruki Murakami

“You have to dream intentionally. Most people dream a dream when they are asleep. But to be a writer, you have to dream while you are awake, intentionally.” – Haruki Murakami

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” – Orson Scott Card

“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.” – Gustave Flaubert

“I hate writing, I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker

“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.” – Jennifer Egan

“I’ve always said, ‘I have nothing to say, only to add.’ And it’s with each addition that the writing gets done. The first draft of anything is really just a track.” – Gore Vidal

“I know how fiction matters to me because if I want to express myself, I have to make up a story. Some people call it imagination. To me, it’s not imagination. It’s just a way of watching.” – Haruki Murakami

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King

“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 the only thing you have to offer.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“Nonfiction speaks to the head. Fiction speaks to the heart. Poetry speaks to the soul. It’s the essence of beauty. The essence of pain. It pleases the eye and the ear.” – Ellen Hopkins

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

“Write at a pace that doesn’t surpass your creative flow. Don’t be hasty; don’t be sloppy. Don’t forfeit impressive writing for an impressive word count. Because eventually it will all have to be edited, and you’ll find that it is harder to make bad writing good than to make good writing better.” – Richelle E. Goodrich

“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

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anais Nin

writing quotes

Quotes About Bad Writing

“Bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do― to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.” – Stephen King

“True mysticism should not be confused with incompetence in writing which seeks to mystify where there is no mystery but is really only the necessity to fake to cover lack of knowledge or the inability to state clearly. Mysticism implies a mystery, and there are many mysteries, but incompetence is not one of them, nor is overwritten journalism made literature by the injection of a false epic quality. Remember this too: all bad writers are in love with the epic.” – Ernest Hemingway

“A person who wrote badly did better than a person who does not write at all. A bad writing can be corrected. An empty page remains an empty page.” – Israelmore Ayivor

“If you open a book and find that the writer is trying to impress you with his knowledge of long, unusual words or by his use of foreign phrases, close the book quickly with no sense of loss or of deficiency or of having missed anything; for the author has not learned how to write and perhaps never will, and there is no need for you to offer yourself as a sounding board for his incompetence.” – Burton Rascoe

Quotes About Nonfiction Writing

“Nonfiction means that our stories are as true and accurate as possible. Readers expect – demand – diligence.” – Lee Gutkind

“I think the goal with any writing, but especially narrative nonfiction is to put the blockade of putting your thoughts in this unnatural medium of print and then to try to reach through that and actually convey what’s going on, what you think, and make people laugh and recognize themselves while doing it. Definitely the laughing thing.” – Sloane Crosley

“The challenge for a nonfiction writer is to achieve a poetic precision using the documents of truth but somehow to make people and places spring to life as if the reader was in their presence.” – Simon Schama

“Truth is stranger than nonfiction. And life is too interesting to be left to journalists. People have stories, but journalists have ‘takes,’ and it’s their takes that usually win out when the stories are too complicated or, as happens, not complicated enough.” – Walter Kirn

“I wanted to write about looking at the world, so it’s more about helping people, or persuading people, to see what is around us; both the marvelous and the terrible.” – John Berger

writing quotes

Quotes About Writer’s Block

“Writer’s block is a misnomer and can be compared with turning off a faucet. Like the ability to write, faucets can develop problems when they’re seldom used. You get all this rust in the pipes. When you turn on the faucet, a lot of rust comes out.” – Susan Neville

“Don’t stop because you’ve hit a block. Finish the page, even if you write nothing but your own name. The block will break if you don’t give in to it. Remember, writing is a physical habit as well as whatever you want to think it is—calling, avocation, talent, genius, art.” – Isabelle Holland

“Writer’s block is the biggest myth out there. The idea that you’re just lost for any possible words isn’t some vague illness that strikes people when they’re trying to be creative. You’re not missing the words; you’re missing the research. All ideas are a combination of preexisting ideas. So if you’re “out” of new ideas it’s probably because you don’t have enough old ideas to combine. Go back and read more. Or spend more time mapping out the book. Don’t show up to the keyboard without a plan, and then tell the world you have writer’s block. You’re lying to us, and to yourself.” – David Burkus

“When I have writer’s block, it is because I have not done enough research or I have not thought hard enough about the subject about which I’m writing. That’s a signal for me to go back to the archives or to go back into my thoughts and think through what it is I am supposed to be doing.” – Annette Gordon-Reed

“Do you ever go into the bathroom and sit on the toilet when you don’t need to take a shit? Do you ever just sit there completely empty and sit there and push? No, you don’t. You go eat something, and then you live your life and what happens, happens. It’s the same thing with writing. If I don’t have an idea that I’m not absolutely terrified of losing, then I don’t bother to write.” – Chuck Palahniuk

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

Conclusion

Hopefully, the long list of writing quotes above will help you take a step back and approach the page with a fresh perspective. Feel free to revisit the page and find a new quote to inspire you if you are ever stuck. On a final note, keep writing. Some days you will flow like a waterfall, and some days, you will not. Still, do not let the ebb and flow of creativity discourage you from pursuing your craft.

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