Famous writers’ quotes about writing

Quotes are interesting. Quotes are fashionable. Famous writers’ quotes about writing are even cooler.

But quotes are also prone to misinterpretation. Especially because they are often used without appropriate context.

This may look like a minor detail. But it’s not.

In fact, for example, if you know about writing techniques and what it means to tell the truth in creative writing, you can have decidedly different takes on the following Mark Twain’s quote than you would if you hadn’t any special interest about writing.

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything–Mark Twain

In one case you might think that you should be as honest in writing as you should be in life. But that would cause you, the beginning writer, all sort of embarrassing situations when it comes to churning out short stories and novels.

To start with, you could end up in a courtroom. With your relatives, neighbors, and workmates all eagerly waiting for you to be found guilty.

Keeping these words of caution in mind, here are some of my preferred quotes about writing.

List of famous writers’ quotes about writing


There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all—Oscar Wilde


Books these quote makes me think of:

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
Zombie, by Joyce Carol Oates

Just a note. These are all great books. As a rule, I think citing and debating about badly written books is a waste of time.


A writer is a world trapped in a person ―Victor Hugo

Books these quote makes me think of:

Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
The diving bell and the butterfly, by Jean-Dominique Bauby


The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter ― it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning―Mark Twain

Books these quote makes me think of:

One hundred years of solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw


Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened—Dr. Seuss

Books these quote makes me think of:

Gone with the wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Different seasons – The body, by Stephen King


I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel—Maya Angelou

Books these quote makes me think of:

The green mile, by Stephen King
A summer place, by Sloan Wilson


Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing—Benjamin Franklin

Books these quote makes me think of:

To kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand


Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself—George Bernard Shaw

Books these quote makes me think of.:

On Human bondage, by William Somerset Maugham
The Bonobo and the Atheist, by Frans De Waal


Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten—Neil Gaiman

Books these quote makes me think of:

I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
Abarat, by Clive Barker


Anyone can express himself or herself, but what writers and poets want to do in their work, more than simply express themselves, is communicate—Raymond Carver

Books these quote makes me think of:

Misery, by Stephen King
Estaciones de Paso (Spanish edition only), by Almudena Grandes


Write about what you know, and what do you know better than your own secrets? — Raymond Carver

Books these quote makes me think of:

Peyton place, by Grace Metalious
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier

A last word or, rather, a last quote

We can know thousand of quotes. But like so many things in life, quantity isn’t always and necessarily a desirable feature. In fact, we should remember Joseph Roux’s words: A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool.

And you? Do you have any favorite quotes?

Pictures: Comfreak

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