As a writer, I quite often find myself bogged down.  Stuck.  Ready to sail off to Quitsville.  One of the things I do to buck up when the dark closes in is to read inspirational quotes by other writers.*  It always helps to know that even the most famous, the most revered, the most successful writers go through all the same tough moments I do.

Here are eighteen of my favorites (eighteen for Eighteen Crossroads, you know):

If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.  (Margaret Atwood)

­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.  (Margaret Atwood)

Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.  (Thomas Berger)

The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought by editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home.  (John Campbell)

I firmly believe every book was meant to be written.  (Marchette Chute)

Planning to write is not writing. Outlining–researching–talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.  (E. L. Doctorow)

The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.  (William Faulkner)

There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.  (Ernest Hemingway)

I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged…I had poems which were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.  (Erica Jong)

The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.  (Stephen King)

The secret of good writing is telling the truth.  (Gordon Lish) 

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary — it’s just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.  (Somerset Maugham)

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

Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.   (Salman Rushdie)

Pretend to be writing to an aunt.  (John Steinbeck)

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else. (Gloria Steinem)

Don’t get it right, just get it written. (James Thurber)

The long-lived books of tomorrow are concealed somewhere amongst the so-far unpublished MSS of today.  (Philip Unwin)


Which is your favorite?  Or do you have a favorite that doesn’t appear here?  What keeps you going when the dark closes in?


*I’ve collected these over several years from all over the internet–they’re all google-able, but I don’t have sources for each one.  No copyright infringement is intended.