Writing Wisdom from the Best Sellers

I collect wisdom quotes. One subsection of that is writing wisdom. And some of the best comes from the best. Here’s a sampling for your edification & inspiration:

Neil Gaiman:

‘Remember: When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.’ 

‘This is how you do it:  you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done’ It’s that easy, and that hard.’

Anne Lamott:

‘Good writers help us understand life.’

‘Publishing isn’t the payoff.’ Wow, I feel that one deep.

‘Writing is an act of self-discovery’ – to me, this is the payoff.

‘Writing is fueled by hard work rather than innate talent.’

Stephen King:

‘Use failure as fuel.’

‘Truthful writing often upsets people.’

‘Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.’

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.

Maya Angelou:

‘The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.’

When you learn, teach, when you get, give.’

‘Making a decision to write was a lot like deciding to jump into a frozen lake.’

‘The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.’

‘Easy reading is damn hard writing. But if it’s right, it’s easy. It’s the other way round, too. If it’s slovenly written, then it’s hard to read. It doesn’t give the reader what the careful writer can give the reader.’

Natalie Goldberg:

‘Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.’

‘There is freedom in being a writer and writing. It is fulfilling your function. I used to think freedom meant doing whatever you want. It means knowing who you are, what you are supposed to be doing on this earth, and then simply doing it.’

‘It is odd that we never question the feasibility of a football team practicing long hours for one game; yet in writing we rarely give ourselves the space for practice.’

“’It’s pretty nice to be talented. If you are, enjoy, but it won’t take you that far. Work takes you a lot further.’

‘I think talent is like a water table under the earth—you tap it with your effort and it comes through you.’

And, as always, my favorite – it wasn’t written for writers, but it’s my inspiration nonetheless:

Write on, people!

Share your favorite writing quotes with us in the comments!


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