77 Writing Quotes to Motivate, Inspire, & Kick Your Butt in 2020

Who doesn’t love writing quotes?

A good quote can uplift 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 quotes about writing, written by famous authors and some of the world’s greatest literary minds, both past and present:

Let’s jump in.

25 Inspirational Writing Quotes (Or, Quotes to Kick You in the Rear)

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. Write something worth reading…

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

9. 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

10. 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

11. 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

12. What is written without effort…

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

13. 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

14. 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

15. 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

16. 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

17. 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

18. 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

19. 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

20. Write what…

“Write what should not be forgotten.”
Isabel Allende

21. Lens to focus…

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

22. Breathings of your heart…

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

23. Blank page…

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

24. 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

25. The most beautiful things…

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

33 Quotes About Writing (Or, Writers on 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. 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

17. My courage is reborn…

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

18. 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

19. No one knows…

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

20. To discover…

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

21. 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

22. 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

23. Never have to change…

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

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

25. No shortcuts…

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

26. 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

27. Mighty book, mighty theme…

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

28. Good writing…

“Good writing is rewriting.”
Truman Capote

29. Writing advice…

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

30. 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

31. Using two words…

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

32. 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

33. You can make anything…

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

19 Writing Quotes of Encouragement

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. 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

What are Your Favorite Writing Quotes?

There are thousands upon thousands of inspirational quotes about writing.

Which great quote is your favorite?

Let us know in the comments below.

17 thoughts on “77 Writing Quotes to Motivate, Inspire, & Kick Your Butt in 2020”

  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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *