Quotations to Inspire, Amaze, and Entertain

Today I have decided to share with you some of my favorite quotations. You might be inspired or amused. You might think a particular quote is just what you needed — or you might disagree strongly with what the author says. Whatever your reaction, it is a reaction — and that’s what writers often need to get out of the slow lane. Enjoy!

“I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card . . . and somehow the activity of writing changes everything.” (Joyce Carol Oates — novelist)

“In the novel you get the journey. In a poem you get the arrival.” (May Sarton — poet)

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” (E. L. Doctorow — novelist)

“Creation, whatever its form, is not an act of will, but an act of faith. “(Lloyd Alexander — novelist)

“How to write a poem? Carve a rock you love down to its essence — but keep a weather eye out for crystals of surprise.” (Kay Kidde — poet and literary agent)

“Journalism allows readers to witness history; fiction gives its readers the opportunity to live it.” (John Hersey — novelist)

“Writing is communication, not self-expression; nobody in this world wants to read your diary, except your mother.” (Richard Peck –novelist)

“You don’t have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.” (John Ciardi — poet and essayist)

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

“Fashion passes, style remains.” (Coco Chanel — fashion designer)

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” (Robert Frost — poet)

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” (Elmore Leonard — novelist)

“You must sit down and write every day for three or four hours. You do it like piano scales until you have a story to tell.” (Anne Lamott, novelist and essayist)

“Too often I wait for the sentence to finish taking shape in my mind before setting it down. It is better to seize it by the end that first offers itself, head or foot, though not knowing the rest, then pull: the rest will follow along.” (Andre Gide — novelist)

“When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end; when we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.” (Vickie Karp — poet)

AND FINALLY: “Just keep the thing going any way you can.” (Tennessee Williams — playwright)

Contributed by Marilyn Donahue


2 responses to “Quotations to Inspire, Amaze, and Entertain

  1. Wow! LOTS to think about and to react to. I really like Karp’s “when we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.”

    That’s me.


  2. Thanks, Jean, for your comments. I like that quote, too. I often feel that way when I’m writing!


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