Quotes about Writers and writing

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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.

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster.
Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.
Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.
We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.
I always write a good first line, but I have trouble in writing the others.
A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream.
The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him.
Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.
A book should be luminous not voluminous.
For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. As to that regular, uninterrupted love of writing. I do not understand it. I feel it as a torture, which I must get rid of, but never as a pleasure. On the contrary, I think composition a great pain.
Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.
The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.
Every writer hopes or boldly assumes that his life is in some sense exemplary, that the particular will turn out to be universal.
It is rarely that you see an American writer who is not hopelessly sane.
Great writers are the saints for the godless.
The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life: try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate!
I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it.
Life cannot defeat a writer who is in love with writing; for life itself is a writer's love until death.
You can fire your secretary, divorce your spouse, abandon your children. But they remain your co-authors forever.
Hard writing makes easy reading. Easy writing makes hard reading.
Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it's the answer to everything. To Why am I here? To uselessness. It's the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it's a cactus.
The biggest obstacle to professional writing is the necessity for changing a typewriter ribbon.
No one who cannot limit himself has ever been able to write.
If you describe things as better than they are, you are considered to be a romantic; if you describe things as worse than they are, you will be called a realist; and if you describe things exactly as they are, you will be thought of as a satirist.
Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.
All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
You don't write because you want to say something; you write because you've got something to say.
Four basic premises of writing: clarity, brevity, simplicity, and humanity.
Writers must fortify themselves with pride and egotism as best they can. The process is analogous to using sandbags and loose timbers to protect a house against flood. Writers are vulnerable creatures like anyone else. For what do they have in reality? Not sandbags, not timbers. Just a flimsy reputation and a name.
No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly believe their wish has been granted.
Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.
Why do writers write? Because it isn't there.
Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.
Only amateurs say that they write for their own amusement. Writing is not an amusing occupation. It is a combination of ditch-digging, mountain-climbing, treadmill and childbirth. Writing may be interesting, absorbing, exhilarating, racking, relieving. But amusing? Never!
Writers should be read but not seen. Rarely are they a winsome sight.

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