Short Essays By Famous Authors Quotes

Writing can be lonely sometimes.

You write and write but can’t get results, or you just can’t shake off the feeling that you’re inadequate.

You’re not alone.

We all feel the same way, and even successful writers and philosophers who were the best of their time couldn’t shake of these feelings either. No matter how much you achieve, it isn’t enough. And no matter how successful you are, that feeling of inadequacy will still be there.

The solution to this, however, is motivation. Instead of worrying about perfection or inadequacy, why not get inspiration from those you look up to? Why not see how they’re made, and what they’ll do in the same situation as you?

Here are 201 writing quotes to keep you motivated today.

While there are a lot of quotes listed, the idea is that you should read them gradually. Some of the quotes below will motivate you, some will make you think, and almost every quote has a deeper meaning. Bookmark this page today, and come back to it every day for a new quote to refresh your day.

What it Takes to be a Writer

If you wish to be a writer, writeEpictetus

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside youMaya Angelou

If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write itToni Morrison

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matterMartin Luther King Jr.

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospectAnaïs Nin

In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicableJohn Steinbeck

I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of livingAnne Morrow Lindbergh

So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who readsDr. Seuss

Writing and Emotion

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for itAnais Nin

A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friendsFriedrich Nietzsche

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the readerRobert Frost

For a creative writer, possession of the “truth” is less important than emotional sincerityGeorge Orwell

Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure. Emotion is easily transferred from the writer to the readerJoseph Joubert


I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed itErnest Hermingway

One must be an inventor to read well. There is then creative reading as well as creative writingRalph Waldo Emerson

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to readGroucho Marx

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as thatStephen King

Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is allOscar Wilde

The ear is the only true writer and the only true readerRobert Frost

Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact manFrancis Bacon

The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading in order to write. A man will turn over half a library to make a bookSamuel Johnson

What I do believe is that there is always a relationship between writing and reading, a constant interplay between the writer on the one hand and the reader on the otherGuillermo Cabrera Infante

Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the windowWilliam Faulkner

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lotStephen King

Practice, Perfection & Expertise

Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mindBernard M Baruch

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a songMaya Angelou

However great a man’s natural talent may be, the act of writing cannot be learned all at onceJean-Jacques Rousseau

Some critics will write ‘Maya Angelou is a natural writer’ – which is right after being a natural heart surgeonMaya Angelou

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quitRichard Bach

The first draft of anything is shitErnest Hermingway

But I am learning that perfection isn’t what matters. In fact, it’s the very thing that can destroy you if you let itEmily Giffin

Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive personDavid M Burns

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the peopleAne Lamott

Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest orderAnne Wilson Schaef

The grandest seduction of all is the myth that DOING EVERYTHING BETTER gets us where we want to be. It gets us somewhere, certainly, but not anywhere worth beingShauna Niequist

At its root, perfectionism isn’t really about a deep love of being meticulous. It’s about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. Fear of successMichael Law

Preciousness and perfectionism are the enemies of laughter, Feig says. I’d go further: They can be inimical to creativity itselfScott Brown

Dealing with Criticism

The writer of originality, unless dead, is always shocking, scandalous; novelty disturbs and repelsSimone de Beauvoir

Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anywayEleanor Roosevelt

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your lifeWinston S. Churchill

Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inchesAndy Warhol

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win themRalph Waldo Emerson

To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothingAristotle

The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except geniusOscar Wilde

If you have no critics you’ll likely have no successMalcom X

Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible, and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently preferJ.R.R Tolkien

If you show someone something you’ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, ‘When you’re ready’David Mitchell

If critics say your work stinks it’s because they want it to stink and they can make it stink by scaring you into conformity with their comfortable little standards. Standards so low that they can no longer be considered “dangerous” but set in place in their compartmental understandingsJack Kerouac

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradictedRalph Waldo Emerson

Ignore all hatred and criticism. Live for what you create, and die protecting itLady Gaga

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticismsGeorge Eliot

The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviewsWilliam Faulkner

To acquire true self power you have to feel beneath no one, be immune to criticism and be fearlessDeepak Chopra

I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his worksSamuel Johnson

Finding Opportunities

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunityJF Kennedy

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a clubJack London

No great man ever complains of want of opportunitiesRalph Waldo Emerson

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficultyWinston S. Churchill

We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like workThomas Edison

With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to chooseWayne W. Dyer

You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little sidebets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything you have to play the game or you don’t play at all. And if u don’t play u can’t winJudith McNaught

Difficulties mastered are opportunities wonWiston Churchill


And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubtSylvia Plath

The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not trueJohn Steinbeck

A writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraidWilliam Faulkner

You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they doEleanor Roosevelt

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sureMark Twain

When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’tJodi Picoult

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the sameCarlos Castaneda

Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitableCoco Chanel

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to liveJohan Wolfgang von Geothe

Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or herLao Tzu

Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with youCynthia Kersey

You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failingRichard P Feynman

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy – Norman Vincent Peale

Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrongEleanor Roosevelt

Let others determine your worth and you’re already lost, because no one wants people worth more than themselvesPeter V. Brett

The only power that exists is inside ourselves….Anne Rice


The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life and one is as good as the otherErnest Hermingway

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to sayAnais Nin

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of livingAnais Nin

It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in itAnais Nin

My idea of a writer: someone interested in everythingSusan Sontag

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubtSylvia Plath

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way downKurt Vonnegut

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat othersAyn Rand

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractionsAlbert Einstein

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t “try” to do things. You simply “must” do thingsRay Bradbury

The chief enemy of creativity is good sensePablo Picasso

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you haveMaya Angelou


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleedErnest Hermingway

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above waterErnest Hermingway

When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricatureErnest Hermingway

Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desireNapoleon Hill

I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discoveringRobert Frost

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bugMark Twain

You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to writeSaul Bellow

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glassAnton Chekhov

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingersIsaac Asimov

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quitRichard Bach

Writers don’t retire. I will always be a writerAndy Rooney

Volume depends precisely on the writer’s having been able to sit in a room every day, year after year, aloneSusan Sontag

What one writer can make in the solitude of one room is something no power can easily destroySalman Rushdie

Easy reading is damn hard writingNathaniel Hawthorne

Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your foreheadGene Fowler

You have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhileBrian Tracy 

How to Get the Best from the Above Quotes

The only way to get the best from the above quotes is by bookmarking this page, or by printing the quotes and getting to it every day. The quotes listed above are too powerful to be comprehended in one day, and you can see yourself going over and over a particular quote for days.

Bookmark this post on Delicious or Stumbleupon, read it regularly, and email it to friends you think will benefit from it!

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Looking for famous writing quotes? Writer’s Digest has compiled our editors’ favorite quotes about writing to help inspire writers everywhere. Whether you’re a fiction writer, nonfiction writer, or poet, these inspirational quotes on writing will put the pen back in your hand with renewed passion.

Find Stephen King quotes on writing, Ernest Hemingway quotes on writing, and creative writing quotes from other famous authors such as Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, and Henry David Thoreau amongst other famous writer quotes. So put the pen down for a moment, step away from they keyboard, and soak in these eclectic author quotes on writing.

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.
– Stephen King


Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.
– Ernest Hemingway


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


Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.
– Mark Twain


And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
– William Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)


If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.
– Somerset Maugham


To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.
– Herman Melville


It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.
– C. J. Cherryh


It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.
– Robert Benchley


Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.
– Ray Bradbury


A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God.
– Sidney Sheldon


Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.
– Henry David Thoreau


If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.
– David Brin


My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
– Anton Chekhov


I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.
– Edgar Rice Burroughs


First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!
– Ray Bradbury


Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.
– Willa Cather


I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
– Douglas Adams


Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.
– Ayn Rand


Poetry creates the myth, the prose writer draws its portrait.
– Jean-Paul Sartre


A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.
– Joseph Conrad


Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything.
– Philip K. Dick


The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.
– Russell Baker


Half my life is an act of revision.
– John Irving


People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.
– Harlan Ellison


People do not deserve to have good writing, they are so pleased with bad.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.
– Erica Jong


Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
– Barbara Kingsolver


A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just begins
to live that day.
– Emily Dickinson


Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow


Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
– William Faulkner


I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
– Gustave Flaubert


There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money either.
– Robert Graves


It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaac Asimov


The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.
– William Faulkner


Begin with an individual, and before you know it you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find you have created – nothing.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald


Writing is its own reward.
– Henry Miller


The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
– Ursula K. Le Guin


Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.
– A. A. Milne


A wounded deer leaps the highest.
– Emily Dickinson


Only in men’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.
– Joseph Conrad


Literature is all, or mostly, about sex.
– Anthony Burgess


Writers are always selling somebody out.
– Joan Didion


Anecdotes don’t make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
– Alice Munro


You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.
– Larry Niven


Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.
– Flannery O’Connor


I can’t write five words but that I change seven.
– Dorothy Parker


There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.
– Terry Pratchett


Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.
– Robert A. Heinlein


The more closely the author thinks of why he wrote, the more he comes to regard his imagination as a kind of self-generating cement which glued his facts together, and his emotions as a kind of dark and obscure designer of those facts. Reluctantly, he comes to the conclusion that to account for his book is to account for his life.
– Richard Wright


No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence or whose attitude is patronizing.
– E. B. White


A poet can survive everything but a misprint.
– Oscar Wilde


Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil—but there is no way around them.
– Isaac Asimov


Fiction is about stuff that’s screwed up.
– Nancy Kress


In general…there’s no point in writing hopeless novels. We all know we’re going to die; what’s important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.
-Anne Lamott


Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.
– Anne McCaffrey


If science fiction is the mythology of modern technology, then its myth is tragic.
– Ursula K. Le Guin


All the information you need can be given in dialogue.
– Elmore Leonard


Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.
– Orson Scott Card


All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary—it’s just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
– Somerset Maugham


Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
– Jane Yolen


If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
– Edgar Rice Burroughs


Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.
– Truman Capote

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