Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quotes on Writing

I spoke at a writer's conference last week and a number of writers there asked for a copy of my collection of quotes on writing so i put them together and thought I'd post them here for whomever might want to find one they like and want to keep.
(I also put these quotes here)


Here's the secret to finishing that first book. Don't rewrite as you go. --Laurell K. Hamilton

I revise, rewrite, edit and delete more than ever before, so much so that, ever since Koko, I see self-editing as crucial to the process as the initial writing. --Peter Straub

I make an index of my notes and then get to the writing as soon as I can. I do a rough draft, and then I rewrite and rewrite. --Tracy Kidder

But all my other novels - before Freya - I wrote at a rate of five thousand words every day for around twenty days, at the end of which I'd have a 100k manuscript - and feel wrecked. Then I leave it for a while and come back a month or so later and edit, cut, rewrite. --Eric Brown

I try to write every day. I do that much better over here than when I'm teaching. I always rewrite, usually fairly close-on which is to say first draft, then put it aside for 24 hours then more drafts. --Marilyn Hacker

To this day, I get rewrite offers where they say: 'We feel this script needs work with character, dialogue, plot and tone,' and when you ask what's left, they say: 'Well, the typing is very good.' --John Sayles

“The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the pshche, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego.” --Carl Jung

“Poetry is going on all the time inside, an underground stream. One can let down one’s bucket and bring the poem up.” -- John Ashbery

“ I always use what remains of my dreams of the night before.” --Eugene Ionesco

“ Many characters have come to me…in a dream, and then I’ll elaborate from there.” --John Burroughs

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. --Mark Twain

Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public. –Winston Churchill

Our admiration of fine writing will always be in proportion to its real difficulty and its apparent ease. –Charles Caleb ColtonWriting is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. –Gloria Steinem

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. –Jules Renard

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. –Jules Renard

Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing. –Norman Mailer

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. –Gene Fowler

Writing an informative yet compact thriller is a lot like making maple sugar candy. You have to tap hundreds of trees - boil vats and vats of raw sap - evaporate the water - and keep boiling until you've distilled a tiny nugget that encapsulates the essence. –Dan Brown

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. –Gustave Flaubert

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary. –Jessamyn West

If you are writing about baloney, don't try and make it Cornish hen, because that's the worst kind of baloney there is. Just make it darn good baloney. –Leo Burnett

Writing a novel is like making love, but it's also like having a tooth pulled. Pleasure and pain. Sometimes it's like making love while having a tooth pulled. –Dean Koontz

Hard writing makes easy reading. –Wallace Stegner

To me, all writing is like music. And especially dialogue. I studied music in college; that is what I wanted to be, a composer. Acting got me sidetracked. –Dirk Benedict

Writing is manual labor of the mind: a job, like laying pipe. –John Gregory Dunne

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. –Sharon O'Brien

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. –William Strunk, Jr

Now the writing in the head, I definitely do every day, thinking about how I want to phrase something or how I'd like to rephrase something I've already written. –Stanley Crouch

Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It's one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period. –Nicholas Sparks

"I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better." –A. J. Liebling

Ouch review…"This book fills a much‑needed gap." –Moses Hadas

Ouch review…"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book ‑ I'll waste no time reading it." –Moses Hadas Ouch review…"I have read your book and much like it." – Moses Hadas

Ouch reviews…"The covers of this book are too far apart." –Ambrose Bierce

Memorable quotes by writers about writing

Collected by Keith Drury,
Associate Professor, Indiana Wesleyan University

1 comment:

Brandon & Jennifer said...

Thanks Coach! Lots of wisdom here!

Brandon