Quotes about Writers and writing

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These are quotes tagged with "writers-and-writing".

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Every author in some degree portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.

A writer should be a joyous optimist. Anything that implies rejection of life is wrong for a writer.
I don't regard Brecht as a man of iron-gray purpose and intellect, I think he is a theatrical whore of the first quality.
Whatever an author puts between the two covers of his book is public property; whatever of himself he does not put there is his private property, as much as if he had never written a word.
If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.
The role of the writer is not simply to arrange Being according to his own lights; he must also serve as a medium to Being and remain open to its often unfathomable dictates. This is the only way the work can transcend its creator and radiate its meaning further than the author himself can see or perceive.
The characteristic of Chaucer is intensity: of Spencer, remoteness: of Milton elevation and of Shakespeare everything.
They can't yank a novelist like they can a pitcher. A novelist has to go the full nine, even if it kills him.
A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.
The writer must write what he has to say, not speak it.
Manuscript: something submitted in haste and returned at leisure.
The older author is constantly rediscovering himself in the more or less fossilized productions of his earlier years.
You must often make erasures if you mean to write what is worthy of being read a second time; and don't labor for the admiration of the crowd, but be content with a few choice readers.
The secret of all good writing is sound judgment.
One gains universal applause who mingles the useful with the agreeable, at once delighting and instructing the reader.
Good sense is both the first principal and the parent source of good writing.
The strokes of the pen need deliberation as much as the sword needs swiftness.
He is outside of everything, and alien everywhere. He is an aesthetic solitary. His beautiful, light imagination is the wing that on the autumn evening just brushes the dusky window.
I hold any writer sufficiently justified who is himself in love with his theme.
Footnotes -- little dogs yapping at the heels of the text
Composition is, for the most part, an effort of slow diligence and steady perseverance, to which the mind is dragged by necessity or resolution, and from which the attention is every moment starting to more delightful amusements.
I know not, Madam, that you have a right, upon moral principles, to make your readers suffer so much.
In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness.
The moving finger writes, and having written moves on. Nor all thy piety nor all thy wit, can cancel half a line of it.
I believe that it is my job not only to write books but to have them published. A book is like a child. You have to defend the life of a child.
This is something that I cannot get over -- that a whole line could be written by half a man, that a work could be built on the quicksand of a character.
A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer.
The writing of the wise are the only riches our posterity cannot squander.
I hate the actor and audience business. An author should be in among the crowd, kicking their shins or cheering them on to some mischief or merriment.
I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze.
The cure for writers cramp is writer's block.
The only phenomenon with which writing has always been concomitant is the creation of cities and empires, that is the integration of large numbers of individuals into a political system, and their grading into castes or classes. It seems to have favored the exploitation of human beings rather than their enlightenment.
As I take up my pen I feel myself so full, so equal to my subject, and see my book so clearly before me in embryo, I would almost like to try to say it all in a single word.
Nowadays three witty turns of phrase and a lie make a writer.
The writer's language is to some degree the product of his own action; he is both the historian and the agent of his own language.
The ambivalence of writing is such that it can be considered both an act and an interpretive process that follows after an act with which it cannot coincide. As such, it both affirms and denies its own nature.
I never think when I write. Nobody can do two things at the same time and do them well.
If written directions alone would suffice, libraries wouldn't need to have the rest of the universities attached.
The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.
The trouble with young writers is that they are all in their sixties.

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