Quotes For Writers

Writers are different. Not better. Not worse. Just different.

I have come to this conclusion in stages. First, when I was growing up and realized other girls generally didn’t spend hours sitting around making up stories in their head. As a young adult I discovered that most people don’t actually identify the character arc or the story arc or the black moment when reading books or watching movies for entertainment. Who knew?

And then I attended my first writing conference. I looked around and heard other people talk about sitting behind a computer for hours in hopes that one day someone else would enjoy the story they couldn’t get out of their head. There were entire conversations about fictional characters and people who didn’t think it was at all weird to get busted by the UPS man in your pj’s at 2:00pm. I did a little mental happy dance. At last I had found my people! Others who understood.

Dana MermaidSo in tribute to all of the fabulous, just a little bit crazy, writers out there I have compiled a few of my favorite quotes about writers. Please feel free to add your own favorite quotes in the comments. You never know where you’re going to find something that will light up your life, soothe your soul, or inspire that next great story!

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

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

am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God
who is sending a love letter to the world.
- Mother Teresa

The profession of book-writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business. – John Steinbeck

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

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

7 thoughts on “Quotes For Writers

  1. I love these, Dana! I truly don’t have a favorite of the ones you shared because they were each so special and touching. I remember a few years ago I was taking a self-editing class that was led by an editor. She said something to us that stuck with me and helped us all get past the head game of worrying so much about getting our story published that we lost the magic of the story. She said to the best of my memory…

    “Not every story is meant to be published, but EVERY story is meant to be written.”

  2. Still my all-time favorite:

    “The best reaction to a rejection slip is a sort of wild-eyed madness, an evil grin, and sitting yourself in front of the keyboard muttering “Okay, you bastards. Try rejecting this!” and then writing something so unbelievably brilliant that all other writers will disembowel themselves with their pens upon reading it, because there’s nothing left to write.”
    –Neil Gaiman

  3. Fun post, Dana.
    Here are a few:
    “Every time I hear writers talk about ‘the muse,’ I just want to bitch-slap them. It’s a job. Do your job.” Take a wild guess who said that one…

    “Good fictiion’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” –David Foster Wallace

    “Write like nobody will ever read it. Edit like the whole world will.”–Sharon Melton Lippincott.

    “Treat all your secondary characters like they think the book’s about them.”–Jocelyn Hughes

    BTW, the first one is Nora Roberts. 🙂 Is that a surprise to anyone??? I love her.

  4. Dana, what a great post. Love all those quotes. And omg, Kim — the Nora quote is fantastic! Need to post that one on the wall for the next few weeks!

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