Writers, on writing

To write well requires the discipline of an athlete, the curiosity of a scientist, and the introspection of a monk.

Perhaps that’s why so few of us are satisfied with what we pen.

There are a million quotes on writing. Here are a few of my favorites, from some of the authors I love best:

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood.
I’d type a little faster.
Isaac Asimov

I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.
Truman Capote

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead,
either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.
Benjamin Franklin

Unless one is a genius, it is best to aim at being intelligible.
Anthony Hope Hawkins

Easy reading is damned hard writing.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Real seriousness in regard to writing is one of two absolute necessities. The other, unfortunately, is talent.
Ernest Hemingway

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them, alright.
But there are older and simpler and better words,
and those are the ones I use.
Ernest Hemingway, Quoted in: A. E. Hotchner, Papa Hemingway

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

Keep in mind that the person to write for is yourself.
Tell the story that you most desperately want to read.
Susan Isaacs


  1. Wonderful thoughts; it’s good to stop and thinking sometimes about what writing entails. So glad you’re keeping a blog! Though a literary blog like this one is a joy to read, its primary value may turn out to lie in how it helps you think about yourself, life and writing. Write on!

    • You’re right, Pam—it *is* good to stop and think about what writing entails. It’s the most paradoxical thing in my life: There should be nothing easier than to type my thoughts. After all, it’s just a matter of choosing a few words and putting them in the right order. But it’s the hardest thing I do most days. Blogging has been a great way to get into the discipline of writing something (anything!) every day.

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