I love collecting quotes on writing. Because the right quote can spark an insight. It can instruct and inform. It can help us to feel less alone—reminding us that everyone struggles with self-doubt and feeling like a phony. It can remind us why we write. And it can help us to keep going.
Quotes on writing also speak beyond writing. They speak to how we can spend our days, and how we can navigate persistent challenges. They speak to how we can view ourselves and our world.
Below, you’ll find inspiring quotes on everything from the power of writing to the writing process. They all come from the wonderful book The Writer Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom, compiled and edited by Kevin Lippert.
“Writing is an act of courage.” ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates
“The great power of literature…is that if 1,000 people read the same book, the book reads each of them differently.” ~ David Grossman
“You can only become a better writer by becoming a better reader.” ~ Verlyn Klinkenborg
“I …looked back to myself as a sixteen-year-old and how much I loved reading and how a book could completely change my life…so I just like the idea of trying to write for all those versions of me out there, wherever they are.” ~ Sherman Alexie
“Understand that everyone has 1,000 pages of bad fiction in him or her, and before you can do anything, you probably have to just write your thousand pages of crap.” ~ Jennifer Finney Boylan
“If you want to find a magical situation, magical things, you have to go deep inside yourself. So that is what I do. People say it’s magical realism—but in the depths of my soul, it’s just realism. Not magical. While I’m writing, it’s very natural, very logical, very realistic and reasonable.” ~ Haruki Murakami
“There’s not a line in any of my books which I can’t connect to a real experience. There is always a reference to a concrete reality.” ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“The best way for me to solve problems in my own life is to write about them.” ~ Peter Straub
“Surely it is a magical thing for a handful of words, artfully arranged, to stop time. To conjure a place, a person, a situation, in all its specificity and dimensions. To affect us and alter us, as profoundly as real people and things do.” ~ Jhumpa Lahiri
“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…What is going on in these pictures in my mind?” ~ Joan Didion
“You can always fix bad pages. You can’t fix no pages.” ~ Harlan Coben
“A writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.” ~ Junot Diaz
“Reading is an active, imaginative act; it takes work.” ~ Khaled Hosseini
“Write every day. Don’t ever stop.” ~ Rick Bass
What quotes resonate with you? Which ones are your favorite?
Consider jotting them down and putting them somewhere visible to serve as a reminder when you inevitable forget.
And remember that even the quotes we disagree with have something to teach us: As I mentioned in this piece, these kinds of quotes provide clues into our own processes and preferences—whether we’re talking about our writing or our lives.