I love quotes. I’m the person who writes quotes down on little scraps of paper and tapes them to the wall. And while I hate going through and sorting the endless paper stacks in my office, I love finding quotes tucked between bills and book outlines, meeting notes and client contracts.
Quotes are just…magical, somehow. I don’t know why. They’re just words, and yet they’re so much more than words. Maybe I love quotes for the very same reason I love reading and writing: Because they just speak to me…or something.
Anyway, since I’m a quote person, I figured I’d dig out some of those scraps of paper and put the quotes here, within my little sliver of cyberspace, to share with whoever finds them inspiring. Maybe that’s you. Or maybe you know a writer who could use some “writespiration” today.
So, here are my picks for eight of the best writing quotes of all time:
On the hard work that goes into being a writer:
“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
And thoughts on writing as survival:
“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.” ― Don DeLillo
About the why of writing:
“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Some kick-butt wisdom from the man himself:
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” ― Stephen King, On Writing
“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” ― Stephen King, On Writing
OK, one more (only because everyone knows On Writing is just about the best book—ahem—on writing there is):
“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” ― Stephen King, On Writing
On the power of writing in our lives, from one of my favorite books of all time:
“I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much. I write it down and Mango says goodbye sometimes. She does not hold me with both arms. She sets me free. One day I will pack my bags of books and paper. One day I will say goodbye to Mango. I am too strong for her to keep me here forever. One day I will go away.” –Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street
Some thoughts on stories that must be told:
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
What quote speaks to you? Please share—I’d love to gather more for my ever-growing list of all-time faves.
(Image courtesy Nana B Agyei | flikr)