10 Quotes On Writing From Successful Women Writers, aka Tips, Inspiration, and Advice to Listen to If You Want to Be a Published Pro

Writer Nora Ephron once said, “The hardest thing about writing is writing.” And she would know — she was one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood (Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally) and a novelist, playwright, and journalist.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or are already established. Writing can be one of the toughest things you’ll ever do. It’s also one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling... which is why you keep at it.

But sometimes you need a little help and inspiration. And what better than help from some of the world’s most successful women writers, women who, like you, know what it’s like to face the hell of a blank page (and a blank mind) but managed to get past it and get published.

Here are their personal writing tricks and tips, ones that got them going, published, and sometimes on the bestseller lists. These quotes on writing — from the new book Never Use a Long Word Where a Short One Will Do (and 299 Other Rules of Writing From Writers) — will give you a push to get started, a kick in the pants to stay motivated and will get your creative juices — and your words — flowing.

Joyce Carol Oates

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“Before you can write a novel you have to have a number of ideas that come together. One idea is not enough.”

Esther Freud

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“Find your best time of the day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess.”

Alice Hoffman

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“No one knows how to write a novel until it’s been written.”

Val McDermid

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“Carve out a regular ‘writing time’ and don’t make excuses. If you can’t commit to your own writing, why should anyone else commit to it?”

Jodi Picoult

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“If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, take writing seriously.”

Zadie Smith

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“When you finish your novel, if money is not a desperate priority, if you do not need to sell it at once or be published that very second — put it in a drawer. For as long as you can manage. A year or more is ideal — but even three months will do. Step away from the vehicle.”

Amy Tan

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“Avoid cliches, avoid generalizations, find your own voice, show compassion, and ask the important questions.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

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“As the great poet Jack Gilbert said once to young writer, when she asked him for advice about her own poems: ‘Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say YES.’”

Delia Ephron

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“Only do what you can do. That means you’re never looking outside for what’s popular; you’re always looking inside for what’s true.”

Gertrude Stein

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“It will come if it is there and if you will let it come.”