Writers may tend to be self-sufficient sorts, or perhaps we become that way by necessity. Even so, we can all benefit from a few educational, informational, inspirational, motivational, operational, and maybe sensational statements from experts. Who doesn’t need a little enthusiastic coaching, now and then?
What words of wisdom have famous wordsmiths offered about writing? Take a look at quotable statements from 24 of the most oft-quoted writers of all time.
Here are my top 24 favorite famous writers’ quotations on writing, arranged alphabetically by author.
- “To write well, express yourself like common people, but think like a wise man. Or, think as wise men do, but speak as the common people do.” Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC)
- “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873)
- “You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
- “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
- “A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.” William Faulkner (1897-1962)
- “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
- “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961)
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- “The secret of all good writing is sound judgment.” Horace (65-68 BC)
- “The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book. “ Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
- “I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001)
- “You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you've got something to say.” Jack London (1876-1916)
- “The best style is the style you don't notice.” Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
- “I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.” James Michener (1907-1997)
- “True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those move easiest who have learned to dance. 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence. The sound must seem an echo to the sense.” Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
- "The waste basket is a writer's best friend." Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991)
- “Style may defined as the proper words in the proper places.” Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
- “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
- “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Mark Twain (1835-1910)
- “Writing is both mask and unveiling.” E.B. White (1899-1985)
- “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
- “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Who’s your favorite author of all time, and what did he or she say about wordsmithing? What’s your personal favorite popular quotation on writing?
OK, everybody. Let’s get out there and write! Go-go-go!
Adapted by this user
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