50+ Inspiring Quotes By Famous Authors About Writing

The hardest part of writing is putting down the first word. It happens to me often. I have unorganized thoughts, and organizing them in my head takes forever.  

Once I can overcome the initial stress, it is plug-and-play.

Many famous authors have put up encouraging words to help younger writers. These quotes by famous authors about writing will be a strong source of inspiration.

50+ Inspiring Quotes By Famous Authors About Writing

#1: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” –Madeleine L’Engl

#2: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” –Stephen King

#3: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour

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

#5: “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” – Terry Pratchett

#6: “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.” – Octavia E. Butler

#7: “Start before you’re ready.” – Steven Pressfield

#8: “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page” – Jodi Picoult

#9: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”- Jack London

#10: “I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” – Robert Frost

#11: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”- Toni Morrison

#12: “Good writing can be defined as having something to say and saying it well. When one has nothing to say, one should remain silent. Silence is always beautiful at such times.”― Edward Abbey

#13: “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

#14: “I get a lot of letters from people. They say, ‘I want to be a writer. What should I do?’ I tell them to stop writing to me and get on with it.”- Ruth Rendell

#15: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”–Benjamin Franklin

16: “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”–Saul Bellow

#17: “In writing. Don’t use adjectives, which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please, will you do my job for me.”― C.S. Lewis

#18: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”–Robert Frost

#19: “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 window.”–William Faulkner

#20: “A good story is a dream shared by the author and the reader. Anything that wakes the reader from the dream is a mortal sin.”― Victor J. Bani

#21: “You can make anything by writing.”–C.S. Lewis

#22: “A word after a word after a word is power.”–Margaret Atwood

#23: “Tears are words that need to be written.”–Paulo Coelho

#24: “You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”–Annie Proulx

#25: “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”–Virginia Woolf

See also: 25 Inspiring Freelance Writing Quotes

Inspiring Quotes By Famous Authors About Writing

#26: “To survive, you must tell stories.”–Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before

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

#28: “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”–Albert Camus

#29: “I write to discover what I know.”–Flannery O’Connor

#30: “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”–John Steinbeck

#31: “A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called ‘leaves’) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time–proof that humans can work magic.”–Carl Sagan

#32: “Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.”–Hermann Hesse

#33: “Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.”–Norman Mailer

#34: “Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”–Rainer Maria Rilke

#35: “A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”–Friedrich Nietzsche

#36: “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”–Thomas Jefferson

#37: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” – Elmore Leonard

#38: “Writers live twice.” – Natalie Goldberg

#39 “To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.” –Herman Melville

#40: “If it can be cut out, then CUT IT OUT. Everything non-essential that you can eliminate strengthens what’s left.” ― Alexander Mackendrick

See also: “Content is King” | Is this still Truth? | Reasons & Quotes

Inspiring Quotes By Famous Authors About Reading

#41: “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 book.” – Samuel Johnson

#42: “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

#43: “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

#44: “Description begins in the writer’s imagination but should finish in the reader’s.” – Stephen King

#45:: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” – Robert Frost

#46: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King

#47: “Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. 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

See also: 10 Types of Creative Nonfiction Books and Genres and How to Write It

Inspiring Quotes By Famous Authors About Editing and Revising

#48 “Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure. Emotion is easily transferred from the writer to the reader.” – Joseph Joubert

#49 “When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”  – Stephen King

#50 “It is perfectly okay to write garbage as long as you edit brilliantly.” – C. J. Cherryh

#51 “Half my life is an act of revision.” – John Irving

#52 “Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.” – Patricia Fuller

#53 “Write your first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head.” – Mike Rich

#54 “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” – Dr. Seuss

#55 “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” – Arthur Plotnik

#56 “Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress…” – Nick Hornby

#57 “When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” – Stephen King


We believe you have been greatly inspired by these quotes by famous authors on your writing journey. Start writing away!


  • Inc – quotes by famous authors about writing
  • Getfreewrite – quotes by famous authors about writing