General · Writing

W is for Writing Quotes

There are lots of quotes on writing and storytelling. These are the ones I like best! Some make me laugh, some say things that strike me as true and some are just pretty.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. 

by Anaïs Nin

Sometimes I agree with this, sometimes I don’t. Depends on the day.


You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. 

by Ray Bradbury

This paints reality as a destructive force and sometimes life can be like that (that is when writing is most necessary).


Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. 

by E.L. Doctorow

It makes me laugh. 😉


I try to leave out the parts that people skip. 

by Elmore Leonard

This is always a good idea.


Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say. 

by Sharon O’Brien

So true! So true!


Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

by Mark Twain

Make me laugh. Also, makes me more aware of my damns and verys and other stuff like that.


I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.

by James Michener

I personally detest editing, but it is so so so necessary.


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.

by Mark Twain

This strikes as a backward way to do things, but I do this too many times to argue with it.


Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. 

by William Wordsworth

Pretty!! Also, true.


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

by Anton Chekhov

I don’t remember the first time I read and people always quote it when they are trying to explain the difference between showing and telling, but I remember seeing this in hs and thinking: Oh, that’s what showing is.


Easy reading is damn hard writing. 

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Truer words!!!


Be obscure clearly. 

by E.B. White

This strikes me as funny. LOL But true in a way.


The road to hell is paved with adverbs. 

by Stephen King

Funny! Also, makes me more aware of my adverbs.


Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. 

by Franz Kafka

Personally, this the creepiest quote on writing I’ve ever read.

10 thoughts on “W is for Writing Quotes

  1. I agree, that Franz Kafka quote is creepy….but it still works, for some reason. Nathaniel Hawthorne is right on the money with his quote on writing. I believe that the second Mark Twain one you listed makes sense because once we’re finished with something, we then have an opportunity to look at it with fresh new eyes, the way readers will see it, so it offers a sense of getting a handle on things so that the writing really does end up saying what we want to say.

    Blog: The Madlab Post
    @MadlabPost on Twitter

  2. “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” Oh that explains it.
    “Be obscure clearly.” Maybe.
    “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” Clearly. xD

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