I’m a slow writer. I could give George R.R. Martin a run (or, you know, crawl) for his money, I swear. I’m talking pouring molasses on a cold winter’s day slow. I’m talking hailing a cab on a rainy night in Times Square slow. I’m talking waiting for that Gilmore Girls revival series to drop on Netflix slow. I’m talking… well, you get the point. So when I tell you that one surefire way to get the creative juices flowing a little bit faster is to read some inspiring book quotes for writers, you can believe me.
I’m not kidding when I tell you I’m a sucker for a good book quote. I’ve got notebook after notebook of quotes I’ve jotted down from my favorite books, magazines, blogs, and TED Talks. I’ve got inspirational quotes for writers thumb-tacked up all over my office, and stuck to my fridge, and in a little box next to my bed, and scattered between the dollar bills in my wallet (ever tried paying for shoes with a book quote before?) I’m telling you, nothing beats the power of a good quote — especially for us writers, who are really just trying to compose some really good quotes ourselves, amirite?
Be sure you’ve got your trusty Moleskine and a freshly-sharpened writing utensil by your side, because here are 13 inspiring book quotes that every writer should read.
1. The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long, meandering walks. The days reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.
2. If you want a room to write in, just get a room. Don’t
make a big production out of it. If it doesn’t leak, has a window, heat in the
winter, then put in your desk, bookshelves, a soft chair, and start writing.
3. If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should
be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite
society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can,
your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.
4. You own everything that happened to you. Tell your
stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have
5. Here’s another thing: You are not required to save the world with your
creativity. Your art not only doesn’t have to be original, in other words; it
also doesn’t have to be important. …
I mean, it’s very kind of you to want to help people, but please don’t make it
your sole creative motive, because we will feel the weight of your heavy
intention, and it will put a strain upon our souls.
6. Don’t write so subtly or timidly — from fear of
sentimentality or obviousness — that no one, not even the angels aflutter in
the rafters, can hear the resonance.
7. There are no bad words, only bad ways to use good
8. I tell what some would call lies. "That’s simply not
true," the members of my family frequently tell me when they come up against my
memory of a shared event. Very likely they are right, for not only have I always
had trouble distinguishing between what happened and what merely might have
happened, but I remain unconvinced that the distinction, for my purposes,
9. None of us can ever know the value of our lives, or
how our separate and silent scribbling may add to the amenity of the world, if
only by how radically it changes us, one and by one.
10. The things that shape us as writers are the same as
the things that shape us as people. All of it. All the experiences you have — or don’t
have — are part of who you are and how you see the world. So live. Travel. Work.
Love. Get angry. Figure out what makes you happy. Do all the stuff everyone
11. Tragedies … are the main reason I decided to
renounce conventional crime as a way of life so many, many years ago, and turn
to the writing life.
12. People who accept things as they are tend not to
13. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and pencil.