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Writers on Writing: Our Favorite Inspirational Quotes

Updated on
September 28, 2021
Lifestyle
Writers on Writing: Our Favorite Inspirational Quotes

At Grammarly, it’s no secret that we love writing . . . and writers! We particularly love when writers share their insights on writing, revising, and the day-to-day experience of being a writer because it gives us glimpses into how their perspectives shape their work. 

We’ve rounded up thirty quotes from well-known writers on the subject of writing to help you stretch your creative muscles and find inspiration to start writing. Whether you’re journaling, writing a story, or procrastinating on starting an assignment, these quotes can get you into the right headspace to pour your thoughts onto the page. 

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Funny quotes about writing

Writers often have an interesting way of looking at the world, don’t they? In many cases, that interesting way of looking at the world is downright amusing:

“When someone is mean to me, I just make them a victim in my next book.” —Mary Higgins Clark  

“I get a lot of letters from people. They say, ‘I want to be a writer. What should I do?’ I tell them to stop writing to me and get on with it.” —Ruth Rendell

>>Read More: How to Become a Writer: A Guide

“When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I am a grown-up they call me a writer.” —Isaac Bashevis Singer

“A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.” —Baltasar Gracián

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

“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” —W. Somerset Maugham

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public.” —Paulo Coelho 

Inspirational quotes about writing

In a way, all quotes about writing are inspirational writing quotes. But these quotes are particularly inspirational, largely because they’re meant to rev you up and get your mind churning:

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

“No Black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much.’ Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much.’” —bell hooks

“Writing can be a lifeline, especially when your existence has been denied, especially when you have been left on the margins, especially when your life and process of growth have been subjected to attempts at strangulation.” ―Micere Githae Mugo

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” ―Octavia E. Butler

“Write what should not be forgotten.” —Isabel Allende

 “People are going to judge you all the time no matter what you do. . . . Don’t worry about other people. Worry about you.” —Jacqueline Woodson 

“A woman who writes has power, and a woman with power is feared.” —Gloria Anzaldúa

>>Read more: 12 Great Websites for Writers

Unconventional quotes about writing

Many well-known writers are outside of the mainstream—whether that’s leading an avant-garde lifestyle or simply working in an unconventional space. You can find unexpected inspiration in the unorthodox, so check out these unconventional writing quotes:  

“All autobiographies are alibi-ographies.” —Clare Boothe Luce

“The average Ph.D. thesis is nothing but a transference of bones from one graveyard to another.” —J. Frank Dobie

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.” —Allegra Goodman

“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.” —Doris Lessing

“The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” —Agatha Christie

>>Read More: How to Write a Book: The Ultimate Guide

“Beginning a novel is always hard. It feels like going nowhere. I always have to write at least 100 pages that go into the trashcan before it finally begins to work. It’s discouraging, but necessary to write those pages. I try to consider them pages -100 to zero of the novel.” —Barbara Kingsolver

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann

Thought-provoking quotes about writing

Writing is one of our oldest and most enduring forms of communication. Through reading work and quotes from earlier generations, like the women writers who’ve paved the way for younger up-and-coming writers, we can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of how the world has evolved. Take a look at these writing quotes, some from the past and others from contemporaries, that make you think about what and why you’re writing:

“You must be unintimidated by your own thoughts because if you write with someone looking over your shoulder, you’ll never write.” ―Nikki Giovanni

“It’s such a confidence trick, writing a novel. The main person you have to trick into confidence is yourself. This is hard to do alone.” —Zadie Smith 

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”  —Elmore Leonard

“I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person. That is, if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame.” —Alice Walker

“Spend too much time alone with your own words, and your writing grows anemic, in dire need of a transfusion.” —Celeste Ng

“I write in order to find out what I truly know and how I really feel about certain things. Writing requires me to go much deeper into my thoughts and memories than conversation does.” —Leslie Marmon Silko 

“When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.” —Margaret Laurence

Write from your heart

Grammarly can help you strengthen your writing by catching spelling, grammar, and syntax mistakes and by helping to ensure your work strikes exactly the tone you intend. But the message in your writing? That’s all you. Write what’s in your heart, and we’ll help you make your message as strong as it can be. 

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