Writing Quotes to Motivate, Inspire, and Kick Your Butt

138 Writing Quotes to Motivate, Inspire, & Kick Your Butt in 2024

by Kevin J. Duncan


Who doesn’t love writing quotes?

A good quote can motivate you. It can encourage you when you feel like giving up. It can inspire you when you need a tiny lil’ spark to start writing.

In this simple, easy-to-read resource, I’ve compiled a list of inspiring, motivational quotes about writing and life that have been shared with the world by famous authors, public figures, and great literary minds, both past and present:

Let’s jump in.

28 Inspirational Writing Quotes

1. You fail only if…

“You fail only if you stop writing.” (Click to Tweet)
Ray Bradbury

2. Type a little faster…

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” (Click to Tweet)
Isaac Asimov

3. Do it for joy…

“I’ve written because it fulfilled me. Maybe it paid off the mortgage on the house and got the kids through college, but those things were on the side — I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.” (Click to Tweet)
Stephen King

4. You must write it…

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” (Click to Tweet)
Toni Morrison

5. Taste life…

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” (Click to Tweet)
Anaïs Nin

6. Don’t water it down…

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; (and) don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” (Click to Tweet)
Franz Kafka

7. Write every day of your life…

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” (Click to Tweet)
Ray Bradbury

8. Cut it to the bone…

“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.” (Click to Tweet)
Stephen King

9. Everything in life is writable…

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” (Click to Tweet)
Sylvia Plath

10. How vain is it…

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” (Click to Tweet)
Henry David Thoreau

11. What is written without effort…

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” (Click to Tweet)
Samuel Johnson

12. Change more lives…

“90 percent perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100 percent perfect and stuck in your head.” (Click to Tweet)
Jon Acuff

13. Don’t quit…

“You can’t fail if you don’t quit. You can’t succeed if you don’t start.” (Click to Tweet)
Michael Hyatt

14. That’s how you create art…

“Write something that’s worth fighting over. Because that’s how you change things. That’s how you create art.” (Click to Tweet)
Jeff Goins

15. Determination never does…

“Inspiration may sometimes fail to show up for work in the morning, but determination never does.” (Click to Tweet)
K.M. Weiland

16. Exercise the writing muscle…

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.”
Jane Yolen

17. Write what disturbs you…

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
Natalie Goldberg

18. Write what…

“Write what should not be forgotten.”
Isabel Allende

19. Lens to focus…

“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.”
Ayn Rand

20. Breathings of your heart…

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
William Wadsworth

21. Blank page…

“You may not always write well, but you can edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
Jodi Picoult

22. No talent for writing…

“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
Robert Benchley

23. The most beautiful things…

“The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.”
Andre Gide

24. You create them…

“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”
Chris Grosser

25. Write something worth reading…

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” (Click to Tweet)
Benjamin Franklin

26. Better than perfect…

“Done is better than perfect.”
Sheryl Sandberg

27. No such thing as writer’s block…

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” (Click to Tweet)
Terry Pratchett

28. Persistence…

“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. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
Octavia E. Butler

37 Quotes About Writing

Quotes About Writing

1. No greater agony…

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” (Click to Tweet)
Maya Angelou

2. Every secret of a writer’s soul…

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” (Click to Tweet)
Virginia Woolf

3. Show me the glint of light…

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” (Click to Tweet)
Anton Chekhov

4. Surprise…

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
Robert Frost

5. The first draft…

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
Terry Pratchett

6. One of the exquisite pleasures of writing…

“I would write a book, or a short story, at least three times — once to understand it, the second time to improve the prose, and a third to compel it to say what it still must say. Somewhere I put it this way: first drafts are for learning what one’s fiction wants him to say. Revision works with that knowledge to enlarge and enhance an idea, to reform it. Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing.”
Bernard Malamud

7. The difference between…

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” (Click to Tweet)
Mark Twain

8. The whooshing sound…

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” (Click to Tweet)
Douglas Adams

9. Write as clearly as I can…

“The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.”
E.B. White

10. Words can be like x-rays…

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
Aldous Huxley

11. A lesson in creative writing…

“Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. (…) All they do is show you’ve been to college.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

12. Find the right words…

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
Jack Kerouac

13. When I sit down to write…

“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”
George Orwell

14. Only a great man can write it…

“Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.”
Oscar Wilde

15. Leave out the parts…

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”
Elmore Leonard

16. My courage is reborn…

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
Anne Frank

17. A person is a fool to become a writer…

“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” (Click to Tweet)
Roald Dahl

18. No one knows…

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
Somerset Maugham

19. To discover…

“I write to discover what I know.”
Flannery O’Connor

20. Wants to be written…

“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’Engle

21. Writing is easy…

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” (Click to Tweet)
Gene Fowler

22. Never have to change…

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

23. No shortcuts…

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
Larry L. King

24. Irritated by my own writing…

“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”
Gustave Flaubert

25. Mighty book, mighty theme…

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

26. Good writing…

“Good writing is rewriting.”
Truman Capote

27. Writing advice…

“Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.”
Lev Grossman

28. The Muse…

“Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”
William S. Burroughs

29. Using two words…

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

30. Greatest part of a writer…

“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 one book.”
Samuel Johnson

31. Great writer…

“Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.”
Ray Bradbury

Further Reading: If your dream is to carve out a writing career, check out our ridiculously in-depth guide on freelance writing jobs.

32. Do not hoard…

“Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”
Annie Dillard

33. You can make anything…

“You can make anything by writing.”
C.S. Lewis

34. Have something to say…

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

35. Failed writers…

“Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”
T.S. Eliot

36. Wake up…

“I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast — talk them or write them down.”
Ernest Hemingway

37. Adverbs…

“Empty your knapsack of all adjectives, adverbs and clauses that slow your stride and weaken your pace. Travel light.”
Bill Moyers

24 Writing Quotes of Encouragement

Inspirational Quotes on Writing

1. Waited for perfection…

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” (Click to Tweet)
Margaret Atwood

2. The good writers…

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” (Click to Tweet)
Orson Scott Card

3. Start writing…

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” (Click to Tweet)
Louis L’Amour

4. A writer needs three things…

“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”
William Faulkner

5. Didn’t quit…

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
Richard Bach

6. One true sentence…

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
Ernest Hemingway

7. Part of the learning process…

“You have to resign yourself to wasting lots of trees before you write anything really good. That’s just how it is. It’s like learning an instrument. You’ve got to be prepared for hitting wrong notes occasionally, or quite a lot. That’s just part of the learning process.” (Click to Tweet)
J.K. Rowling

8. Road to achievement…

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”
C. S. Lewis

9. Writing is more difficult…

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
Thomas Mann

10. Tell it as best you can…

“(…) write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” (Click to Tweet)
Neil Gaiman

11. What you have to say…

“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

12. Pouring yourself into your work…

“When you are pouring yourself into your work and bringing your unique perspective and skills to the table, then you are adding value that only you are capable of contributing.” (Click to Tweet)
Todd Henry

13. Like driving a car at night…

“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

14. Be brave…

“We were born to be brave.” (Click to Tweet)
Bob Goff

15. Start somewhere…

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” (Click to Tweet)
Anne Lamott

16. Rejection slips…

“I could write an entertaining novel about rejection slips, but I fear it would be overly long.”
Louise Brown

17. Ideas are like rabbits…

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

18. Ideas are like rabbits…

“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.”
Erica Jong

19. Meant to read it…

“If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.”
Wally Lamb

20. They know it…

“People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”
R.L. Stine

21. Writing prompts…

“Most writers draw a blank when they first start with writing prompts. Keep pushing through, because something thrilling will start to happen.”
Mel Wicks

22. None of their business…

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
Ernest Hemingway

23. Keep it simple…

“I do not over-intellectualise the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the d*mned story.”
Tom Clancy

24. Surviving the rollercoaster…

“Being a writer is not just about typing. It’s also about surviving the rollercoaster of the creative journey.” (Click to Tweet)
Joanna Penn

49 Motivational Quotes for Writers (or Anyone Who Needs Motivating Thoughts, Really)

Motivational Quotes for Writers

1. Success is no accident…

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

2. Count the days…

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”
Muhammad Ali

3. If my determination…

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
Og Mandino

4. Hard work…

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
Tim Notke

5. Live and learn…

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Mahatma Gandhi

6. Living our fears…

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”
Les Brown

7. Perseverance…

“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
John D. Rockefeller

8. Meant to be reached…

“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
Bruce Lee

9. Not a product of my circumstances…

“I’m not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
Stephen Covey

10. Fear of failure…

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve, the fear of failure.”
Paulo Coelho

11. The whole secret…

“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.”
Henry Ford

12. Have to settle…

“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.”
Jim Rohn

13. Perfection…

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
Vince Lombardi

14. Stepping stone…

“Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”
Oprah Winfrey

15. Self-confidence…

“The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do.”
Swati Sharma

16. Great work…

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Steve Jobs

17. Successful people…

“Unsuccessful people make their decisions based on their current situations. Successful people make their decisions based on where they want to be.”
Benjamin Hardy

18. Success…

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
Winston Churchill

19. Born to win…

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”
Zig Ziglar

20. Tried anything new…

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
Albert Einstein

21. Learn from the mistakes…

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

22. With all you have…

“Do what you can with all you have, wherever you are.”
Theodore Roosevelt

23. All our dreams…

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Walt Disney

24. Our greatest story…

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

25. Enough time…

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
H. Jackson Brown Jr.

26. Hustle…

“What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle and giving 110% all the time.”
Don Zimmer

27. The best you can…

“Do the best you can. No one can do more than that.”
John Wooden

28. What we fear…

“What we fear of doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

29. See opportunities…

“If you believe it’ll work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you don’t believe it’ll work out, you’ll see obstacles.”
Wayne Dyer

30. Strive to be worthy…

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
Abraham Lincoln

31. Excellence…

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

32. Key to success…

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
Arthur Ashe

33. Can’t lose…

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
Bill Gates

34. Comfort zone…

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”
Brian Tracy

35. Positive thought…

“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
Dalai Lama

36. Develop success…

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
Dale Carnegie

37. Expect great things…

“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.”
Michael Jordan

38. Do small things…

“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”
Napoleon Hill

39. The other side of fear…

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
George Addair

40. Path to success…

“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.”
Tony Robbins

41. Tough times…

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
Robert Schuller

42. Left undone…

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
Pablo Picasso

43. Keep going…

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.”
Sam Levenson

44. One more time…

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Thomas Edison

45. All you’ve got…

“Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.”
William James

46. Never gives up…

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
Babe Ruth

47. Long perseverance…

“Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.”
George Eliot

48. Seems impossible…

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Nelson Mandela

49. Have not failed…

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison

What are Your Favorite Writing Quotes?

These are some of the best motivational quotes on writing the world has to offer, and yet we’ve merely scratched the surface — there are thousands upon thousands of great, inspirational quotes about writing.

So, I want to hear from you:

Which great writing quote is your favorite?

Let me know in the comments below.

Photo of author

Kevin J. Duncan

Editor-in-Chief for Smart Blogger and Profitable. Applying what I’ve learned and sharing what I know at The Solopreneur Experiment, my free weekly newsletter.


A "cheat sheet" to making 2-5K per month as a writer, even if you're a total beginner.
Photo of author

Written by Kevin J. Duncan

Editor-in-Chief for Smart Blogger and Profitable. Applying what I’ve learned and sharing what I know at The Solopreneur Experiment, my free weekly newsletter.

20 thoughts on “138 Writing Quotes to Motivate, Inspire, & Kick Your Butt in 2024”

  1. Awesome quotes, Kevin! This particularly caught my attention

    👉“You can’t fail if you don’t quit. You can’t succeed if you don’t start.” 

    Still trusting the process no matter how tough the goings gets. 😎

  2. Hey Kevin, Definitely a few butt-kicking quotes among that lot. I am a great fan of Oscar Wilde who said “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” Talk about commitment to your craft! This has always resonated with me (I am incapable of NOT editing while I write), and I always think of Oscar as I dither over yet another comma in the pursuit of perfection.
    Cheers, Mel

  3. You’ve got some nice collections here.

    I remembered coming across Benjamin’s quote on “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

    These collections cause one to reflect, not only on writing, but on life generally. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love Stephen King’s quote. Writing something really good has to be done for expression not money. The difference is not in the end (money), the difference in the process. Creativity comes best as a feel flowing feeling.

  5. Thanks, Kevin, I really loved reading it.
    Especially “Inspiration may sometimes fail to show up for work in the morning, but determination never does.”

    It really made my day and I am all geared up to start a fresh writing.



Leave a Comment