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40 Timeless Quotes About Writing

40 Timeless Quotes About Writing

You might think writing is easy- that all you need is a writerly instinct and you are good to go. But, having a writerly instinct alone doesn’t make a person a writer. Some of the most gifted writers of our time have tried and failed at writing because it’s a hard business. It lends itself to attacks on your intelligence, emotions, idiosyncrasies, and self-esteem- so you might as well be prepared. Even if you’re an utterly fantastic writer who will be remembered for decades to come, you’ll still receive a good dollop of criticism, rejection, and maybe even mockery before you get there.

George Orwell was rejected several times by publishers for Animal Farm, with Knopf Publishers, in 1945, saying the manuscript was a “stupid and pointless fable.” Vladimir Nabokov received a harsh rejection letter from Knopf too upon submitting Lolita, which would later go on to sell 50 million copies. Sylvia Plath’s first rejection letter for The Bell Jar read, “There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.” Gertrude Stein received a cruel rejection letter that mocked her style, and even Jack Kerouac’s perennial classic, On the Road received a blunt rejection letter that simply read, “I don’t dig this one at all.”

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rejection letter

    Arthur C. Fifield who didn’t bother reading the full manuscript for “The Making of Americans,” sent this most poetic rejection letter to novelist Gertrude Stein, who nonetheless went on to become one of the most prominent voices of American Literature. (Image credit: Mental Floss)

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    For those days when you feel dejected, hurt, weary or just a tad quit-y, a good writing quote can remind you of the essence of the craft and uplift your spirit. These timeless quotes about writing will encourage you to keep learning, to keep writing, and to keep striving.

    1. “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” – Harper Lee

    2. “Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home.” – Paul Theroux

    3. “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” – Dorothy Parker

    4. “If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do.” – William Zinsser

    5. “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.” – Truman Capote

    6. “Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.” – Agatha Christie

    7. “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” – E. L. Doctorow

    8. “The best advice on writing I’ve ever received is to take it seriously, because to do it well is all-consuming.” – David Guterson

    9. “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury

    10.“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” – Thomas Mann

    11. “A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.” – Sidney Sheldon

    12. “Write while the heat is in you. …The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” – Henry David Thoreau

    13. “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” – Ray Bradbury

    14. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

    15. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” – Anne Frank

    16. “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” – Neil Gaiman

    17. “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest Hemingway

    18. “I love my rejection slips, they show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath

    19. “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac

    20. “In general, what is written must be easy to read and easy to speak; which is the same.” – Aristotle

    21. “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

    22. “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” – Thomas Jefferson

    23. “A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood

    24. “You can make anything by writing.” – C.S. Lewis

    25. “Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences” – Sylvia Plath

    26. “If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” – Isaac Asimov

    27. “Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.” – Robert A. Heinlein

    28. “Writers are always selling somebody out.” – Joan Didion

    29. “It’s immoral not to tell.” – Albert Camus

    30. “The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” – Robert Benchley

    31. “So what? All writers are lunatics!” – Cornelia Funke

    32. “Writers aren’t exactly people…. they’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.” – Scott Fitzgerald

    33. “Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.” – Lev Grossman

    34. “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso

    35. “I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky.” – Sharon Olds

    36. “Writers live twice.” – Natalie Goldberg

    37. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anaïs Nin

    38. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. ” – Benjamin Franklin

    39. “Write what should not be forgotten.” – Isabel Allende

    40. “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” ― Winston S. Churchill

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    More by this author

    David K. William

    David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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    Last Updated on July 23, 2019

    3 Keys to Success in Life (That Will Change You in 2019)

    3 Keys to Success in Life (That Will Change You in 2019)

    Do you want to program your mind and hack your body to stay in a positive state, a state of action taking throughout the day? I suggest you read on.

    We will look at 3 keys to success that successful people are doing that you can model to program your mind to be in the state of succeeding from the moment upon waking, and make decisions throughout the day that will lead you towards your desires.

    The Biggest Obstacle to Success: Going on Autopilot

    One of the biggest pitfalls in the modern society is to fall into the trap of going on autopilot, to be walking dead and do what everyone else are doing. Most of us are too busy reacting and responding to the environment and what’s happening around us.

    While we should act and take charge of our own world and our own reality. We forget to stay focused and we forget about our goals.

    Learn to be conscious. Being more conscious in your day-to-day decisions will lead you to take the appropriate actions to reach your goals.

    Have a purpose with life, act according to your values, and don’t let people tell you what to do or how things should be.

    When you start to make more conscious decisions, you will start to think about if this is going to take you closer to your goals or drift you further away.

    Why are you doing what you’re doing right now? Why are you reading this? Nothing else to do? Or are you reading this site so you might pick up a thing or two to consciously incorporate in your life to improve yourself that will move you in the direction you want?

    What are your goals? Be healthy? Lose weight? Be fit? Get the dream job? Have the dream house? Live the dream life? Make a certain amount of money? Start a family?

    If you truly want to pursue these goals and actually see them come true, you need to start taking actions consciously.

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    3 Keys to Success in Life (That You Can Start Doing Now)

    There are 3 things we have to consciously start doing:

      Now I’ll show you how you can achieve each of them in details.

      1. Write down Your Goals

      The first thing you do in the morning will determine what your day is going to be like. Program your mind to be in a powerful state from the moment upon waking, and you are guaranteed to have a productive and great day.

      How you can do this is by writing your goals down, every morning. Then, once you’ve done that, circle the most important goal,  the goal that in the long-term will have the most impact on your life.

      Now ask yourself this question: “What actions can I make today that will change everything and take me closer to this goal?

      Write down all the actions you can think of, circle the two most important ones and start doing them. Don’t stop until it’s done.

      This is an extremely powerful method of getting in the right state first thing in the morning. Instead of wandering around half-dead and spending 30 minutes to wake up, you are hacking your mind to be productive.

      Another powerful reason for writing down your goals is that by reading them it makes us feel good, write them as if they’re already accomplished. You’re already there.

      Re-reading and re-writing them every morning will ensure you to be in a resourceful state where you act based on your goals. You will make conscious decisions throughout the day that will support your goals and take you closer to them.

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      Goals that are not written down are merely wishes. Learn how to set great goals here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

      The power of writing goals as if you’re already there takes us to point number 2.

      2. Create a Powerful Belief System

      Ask any successful person what their number one rule for succeeding is. They all have this in common:

      They believe in themselves and what they’re doing, and they are not afraid to say it.

      If you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else?

      When people ask you about your goals in life, don’t be afraid to say it out loud. If you have high goals, they might laugh and look at you funny. But if you’re insecure about your goals, you will make insecure decisions that will lead you nowhere.

      Go against the grain, stand out. After all, how many people in the world today are actually living the dream? Now, how many of these people will respond something in the likes of “I don’t know” if you ask what their goals are?

      Be determined and believe in yourself. People will respect you for having the guts for going after what you truly desire.

      I once heard a story about a guy that worked in a video store. Every day he would bring two magazines to work, one was an entrepreneur magazine and the other was a magazine loaded with expensive and fast-riding cars. His boss would ask him why he was bringing these magazines to work every day and his answer was: “I’m picking out the car I’m going to buy.”

      The response from the boss was like most average minds saying he was killing himself thinking like that, he would never ever get that car and would just end up disappointed when it never happened.

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      Turned out, the guy later quit the job at the video store and followed his dream. Some years later he return to the video store to return a video, and he did so in the car he picked out from the magazine.

      The same people were working in the store as the day he used to work there. Now can you imagine the looks on their faces when he turned up in the car they said he never ever would get?

      Priceless. And it all started by creating a powerful belief system.

      The first step to living and achieving your dream is to believe it and imagine it. When you believe in your mind that you’ve already achieved your goals, you will develop a sense of certainty. That certainty will lead to action steps, when you know what the outcome is going to be it’s much easier to pick out the actions that are necessary to get there.

      You are certain you will live in the body you want.

      You are certain you will live in the dream house with the dream family.

      You are certain you will have the job you want, and earn the money you believe you’re worth.

      By constantly repeating in your mind the images of yourself succeeding, you create neural pathways in the brain. Your mind can’t tell the difference between what you vividly imagine and the reality.

      Go out and day dream. Go out and believe, imagine already living your dreams and goals. With enough repetition, you become certain that this is the only outcome and you work backwards to find ways for making it happen.

      The next step in personal success that will lead to life success and happiness is to..

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      3. Invest in Yourself

      A wise man was once asked what the best possible investment someone could make. His answer was short, sweet and simple: “Invest In Yourself.”

      The man’s name is Warren Buffett. He is known as the world’s greatest investor. According to Forbes, he has a net worth of $53.5 Billion.

      Hiring a personal coach, getting a membership at a gym, buying healthy foods, books and education are not expenses. They are investments: investments in yourself.

      Some things you can do today to invest in yourself are:

      • Go to the gym and train. Physical training releases endorphins and makes you feel great. It increases productivity and energy levels. By investing time in the gym, you’ll be better able to handle daily tasks and what life throws at you. Forty-five to fifty minutes is all you need, it’s actually the best time to shoot for in a workout.
      • Eat good food. When you go to the grocery store after work, ask yourself: “What foods will nourish my mind and body to feel and perform better?” You are setting yourself up for greatness and consciously making yourself aware of what foods will empower you, therefore make better decisions.
      • Start reading books. Everyone buys books, but very few actually reads them cover to cover.
      • Stop reading books and start studying them. Few read the books they buy, but even fewer remembers what they read. Stop reading books and start studying books.
      • Study at least one hour a day. “One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.” – Brian Tracy
      • Take notes. Never leave home without a pen and a piece of paper. The best ideas often comes in the least appropriate times, write them down. Don’t trust your mind to remember them—it won’t. Writing it down right away will also allow your mind to store and come up with more ideas. Nowadays, you can use plenty of notes-taking apps like Evernote.
      • Learn a new skill. Learn something new every day, a new skill or a new word. One new skill every day equals 365 new skills a year. Now imagine where you could be a year from now if you start doing it today?
      • Do something for yourself. Yes, hard work is a major factor for succeeding, but at least once per month do something fun, something outrageous and spontaneous that makes you feel alive. Have fun and enjoy yourself.

      The Crucial Rule to Follow

      The last piece of advice and rule to follow: Keep on, keeping on.

      Sometimes, things get hard and the road seems too long. You just have to keep on, keeping on.

      Revisit your goals and start imagining, all of the sudden you’ve changed your state and you’re on the right track again. The track that will take you to greatness.

      Use these 3 keys to create your destiny and achieve what you want in life.

      Go get it.

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      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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