“The process of writing is a lonely endeavor. You miss out on time spent with family and friends, hoping the words you're putting down will entertain basic strangers out there in the insane world. “
“I started writing when I was eight—out of the blue…not knowing that I had chained myself for life to a noble but merciless master.”
“I must write. If I stop writing my life will be an abject failure…I will not have earned death."
“To take my work seriously would be the height of folly.”
“I receive about two hundred pieces of mail a day. Most of it is the sort of casual conversation that glutes the email chute. The kind of thing that we used to write in a brief letter or postcard—and because we actually had to do the job in a finite space, we tried to keep the imbecile blather to a minimum.”
“Advice for writers: There are stories everywhere within view, within range … [and] the one essential quality is curiosity, in my opinion, and the energy to go out and learn about the world and about people who lead unique lives, who dwell in obscure places.”
“Within words….you drink those sentences down, and they prop up the dreams you keep inside you, and they spark something up there in your brain, and when you’re done you’ve got a bellyful of the most dangerous liquor on earth … you’ve got yourself a story … one you can really believe.”
“My advice to writers just starting out? Don’t use semicolons. All they do is suggest you might have gone to college.”
“The secret of great writing is that it is as much what you do as what you don’t do. While there is no common definition of great, all great books have the common feature of lacking content that isn’t great. Great books do not contain ‘un-great’ stuff.”
-Dawn Field (Book Baby, 8/4/22)
“It’s a strange thing to be a writer, to argue with yourself about the way things are and should be, and committing those arguments to paper for others to read. It requires a level of self-awareness shaped by tireless observation of the world, and an internal dialogue picking that same world apart.”
“What is a good writer? Well, in my opinion a good writer is one who makes things perfectly clear. He makes it easy for the reader. Easy to understand what he is saying, easy to keep reading.”
“To create: not to make something out of nothing, but to make order out of chaos…a creative writer does not make up new words but arranges familiar words in patterns which say something fresh to us.”
-Harold S. Kushner
"My advice to writers would be to aggressively seek the truth –forget about your ego—and do one more draft than your agent tells you to.”
“If you have a story to tell, the most important thing is the story, not the form you use to shape it.”
“Two percent of the people think, three percent think they think, and 95 percent of the people would rather die than think.”
-George Bernard Shaw
“If you have any young friends who aspire to be writers, shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
“It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating.”
“The freedom to choose or reject ideas, to read books of our choice, and to publish freely is the very bedrock of our free society. The First Amendment is a prohibition of governmental interference with free speech.”
“Typewriters are the stepping stones to any high office.”
-Ayn Rand, “We the Living” film, 80th anniversary edition.
“For even in the age of digitalization the bookshelf remains a popular and beloved icon. Every day, thousands of scientists, clergymen, artists, and politicians are posed by photographers and cameramen before bookshelves, patently in hopes that their filmed ten-second-statements will thereby somehow gain in gravity. A world growing faster day by day stands in desperate need of such unambiguous signs. To this day, the bookshelf seems to serve that particular end.”
-Burkhard Spinnen, ‘The Book An Homage”
“Writing is not a profession on which one embarks under duress. No one forces anyone to become a writer. No one even asks him. He writes because he enjoys writing, and if he doesn’t enjoy it he should get out of the profession.”
-Leslie McFarlane, “Ghost of the Hardy Boys” (Godine, 2022, p. 268).
“Sometimes I've called writing a disease. If so, I'm glad it caught me. I've never walked into this room and looked at this typewriter without feeling that something somewhere, some strange gods or something utterly unnamable has touched me with a blithering, blathering and wondrous luck that holds and holds and holds.”
-Charles Bukowski, “On Writing” (Ecco)
"Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay."
"A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing."
"To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man."
“When the research and writing is going well, the work itself provides a positive return. When the work is hard, I remind myself that the [writing] has a purpose, and I value that purpose. And that, to me, justifies the work and time. “