One of my great time-wasters is reading what writers think about writing. Essays, blogs, letters, journal entries, books, even poems–I sop up the wisdom of writers and smile like writing is some joked shared between us. Sometimes this diversion is inspiring; sometimes it is only a diversion that prolongs into a distraction. Either way, here are ten fabulous quotes on writing.
- It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. –Vita Sackville-West
- Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. –Flannery O’Connor
- Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will none the less get something that looks remarkably like it. –Jack London
- A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. –Henry David Thoreau
- The road to hell is paved with adverbs. –Stephen King
- Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes. –Theodore Dreiser
- True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance,
As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance. –Alexander Pope
- One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment. –Hart Crane
- The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it. –Ernest Hemingway
- Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man’s life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible. –Leo Tolstoy
Wow, I got to ten much faster than I thought I would. This post may need a sequel.
What quotes do you find inspiring, readers?