“Write drunk, edit sober.”

As it turns out, Hemingway never actually uttered those words that are so famously misattributed to him.

Now, whether or not you still think that is sound advice is completely up to you.

However, there is no shortage of wise words out there from literary heroes who (thankfully) persevered through writer’s block, rejection, and so much more.

Inspirational Quotes About Writing

Below are 75 inspirational quotes about writing to keep you going. So, pour yourself another cup of coffee and get that pen ready.
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“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

—Anne Lamott

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“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

—Jodi Picoult

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“Man has two great gifts: ‘words’ to give sound to thoughts, and ‘writing’ to give thoughts meaning forever.”

—Gianfranco Iovino

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“If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

—Toni Morrison

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“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

—Nathaniel Hawthorne

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“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”

—Samuel Johnson

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“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

—Benjamin Franklin

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“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”

—Ray Bradbury

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“To get the truth, you want to get your own heart to pound while you write.”

—Robert McKee

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“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

—Richard Bach

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

—Anne Frank

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“If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.”

—Margaret Atwood

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“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

—Joseph Chilton Pearce

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“If it’s still in your mind, it is worth taking the risk.”

—Paulo Coelho

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“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

—Frank Herbert

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”

—Terry Pratchett

“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.”

—John Updike, WD

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”

—Larry L. King

“Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

—Stephen King

“If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.”

—Dan Poynter

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

—Maya Angelou

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

—Ernest Hemingway

“This business of being a writer is ultimately about asking yourself, how alive am I willing to be?”

—Anne Lamott

“A writer is by nature a dreamer.”

Carson McCullers

The writer is an explorer. Every step is an advance into a new land.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

—W. Somerset Maugham

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

—Tom Stoppard

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

—Flannery O’Connor

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

—Thomas Mann

“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run on their way to incredible destinations.”

—Ray Bradbury

“If you are having trouble getting started, look out the window. The whole world is a story, and every moment is a miracle.”

—Bruce Taylor

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

—Ernest Hemingway

“Bad writing precedes good writing, This is an infallible rule, so don’t waste time trying to avoid bad writing. (That just slows down the process.) Anything committed to paper can be changed. The idea is to start, and then go from there.”

—Janet Hulstrand

“To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.”

—Anne Rice

“Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.”

—Anne Lamott

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”

—Oscar Wilde

“I do not read for I have renounced life, I read because one life is just not enough for me.”

—Abbas Al-Akkad

“When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation.”

—Jorge Luis Borges

“I’ve always wondered who I am when I write, because once I’m doing it, I’m not in the room with myself.”

—Stephen King

“I write for the same reason I breathe—because if I didn’t, I would die.”

—Isaac Asimov

“The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.”

—T.S. Eliot

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

—William Wordsworth

“You just have to trust your own madness.”

—Clive Barker

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”

—Shannon Hale

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him which books he reads.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If you don’t write your books, nobody else will do it for you. No one else has lived your life.”

—José Saramago

“I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still.”

—Sylvia Plath

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.”

—Samuel Johnson

“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”

—Martin Luther

“Write what should not be forgotten.”

—Isabel Allende

“What lasts in the reader’s mind is not the phrase but the effect the phrase created: laughter, tears, pain, joy. If the phrase is not affecting the reader, what’s it doing there? Make it do its job or cut it without mercy or remorse.”

—Isaac Asimov

“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.”

—Holly Gerth

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

—Albert Einstein

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”

—Leonardo Da Vinci

“Keep your head in the clouds and your hands on the keyboard.”

—Marissa Meyer

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”

—Ernest Hemingway

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.”

—Sidney Sheldon

“Mistakes are the portal of discovery.”

—James Joyce

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.”

—Joss Whedon

“You fail only if you stop writing.”

—Ray Bradbury

“If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.”

—Margaret Atwood

“Revision is one of the true pleasures of writing. I love the flowers of afterthought.”

—Bernard Malamud

“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.”

—Pearl S. Buck

“I would advise any beginning writer to write the first draft as if no one else will ever read them – without a thought about publication – and only in the last draft to consider how the work will look form the outside.”

—Anne Tyler

“On first drafts: It is completely raw, the sort of thing I feel free to do with the door shut – it’s the story undressed, standing up in nothing but its socks and undershorts.”

—Stephen King

“Editing might be a bloody trade, but knives aren’t the exclusive property of butchers. Surgeons use them too.”

—Blake Morrison

“No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.”

—Russell Lynes

“Fiction is an improvement of life.”

—Charles Bukowski

“You can’t be a good writer without being a devoted reader.”

—J.K. Rowling

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

—Ernest Hemingway

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

—William H. Gass

“Writing is the painting of the voice!”


“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

—Louis L’Amour

Do you have any favorite quotes about writing? Feel free to share them with us below!


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