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Creative Writing Quotes

I have included some of my favourite creative writing quotes on this page, numbered for easy reference. I'll add more as I come across them, but if you'd like to see others here, don't hesitate to send good writing quotations to me for inclusion.

Reading through writing quotations has always inspired me to write, even on those days when I think we've reached a literary saturation point, with enough books in stores and libraries to keep all of us reading until the day we die. When I read writing quotations like these I become creative.

Creative writing quotes remind me that writing is about thinking and about sifting through the thoughts of others in search of that elusive something that will trigger our own ability to articulate the truth as we see and imagine it. Writing forces me to clarify my thoughts, and that alone provides reason enough to sit at the computer.

So...if you are here as a reader, welcome! But if you are a writer, particularly one who needs a reason to get excited about writing again, I hope these creative writing quotes will inspire you as they inspire me!

Please help this site grow by clicking below to tell your friends that you "like" the quotations you found here:


    Creative Writing Quotes 1 - 10

  1. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. ~ Ben Franklin

  2. What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. ~ Samuel Johnson

  3. On plenty of days the writer can write three or four pages, and on plenty of other days he concludes he must throw them away. ~ Annie Dillard

    creative writing quotes

  4. 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

  5. Asking a writer what he thinks about criticism is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs. ~ John Osborne

  6. To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. ~ Elbert Hubbard

  7. I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. ~ John Locke

  8. We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. ~ Ernest Hemingway

  9. The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think. ~ Edwin Schlossberg

  10. If writers stopped writing about what happened to them, then there would be a lot of empty pages. ~ Elaine Liner

    Creative Writing Quotes 11 - 20

  11. I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~ Elmore Leonard

  12. The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time. ~ George Bernard Shaw

  13. The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~ Anaïs Nin

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

  15. Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth

  16. Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~ Anton Chekhov

  17. Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. ~ Orson Scott Card

  18. I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. ~ James Michener

  19. The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~ Mark Twain

  20. Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~ Mark Twain


    Creative Writing Quotes 21 - 30

  21. To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music the words make. ~ Truman Capote

  22. When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. ~ Enrique Jardiel Poncela

  23. Writing comes more easily if you have something to say. ~ Sholem Asch

  24. I'd rather be caught holding up a bank than stealing so much as a two-word phrase from another writer. ~ Jack Smith

  25. Writing is a struggle against silence. ~ Carlos Fuentes

  26. The process of writing has something infinite about it. Even though it is interrupted each night, it is one single notation. ~ Elias Canetti

  27. Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake. ~ E.L. Doctorow

  28. The maker of a sentence launches out into the infinite and builds a road into Chaos and old Night, and is followed by those who hear him with something of wild, creative delight. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  29. Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head. ~ From the movie Finding Forrester

  30. Writing is both mask and unveiling. ~ E.B. White

    Creative Writing Quotes 31 - 40

  31. 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. ~ Oscar Wilde

  32. If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write. ~ Stephen King

  33. Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

  34. A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

  35. A great writer reveals the truth even when he or she does not wish to. ~ Tom Bissell

  36. If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by persons who move their lips when they're reading to themselves. ~Don Marquis

  37. A man will turn over half a library to make one book. ~ Samuel Johnson

  38. No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published. ~ Russell Lynes

  39. A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. ~ Thomas Mann

  40. An author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.~ Colette

    Creative Writing Quotes 41 - 50

  41. The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anticlimax. ~ Alfred Kazin

  42. I do not like to write - I like to have written. ~ Gloria Steinem

  43. One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment. ~ Hart Crane

  44. The best style is the style you don't notice. ~ Somerset Maugham

  45. Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man's life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible.~ Leo Tolstoy

  46. Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.~ David Sedaris

  47. A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness.~ Edith Wharton

  48. The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think. ~ Edwin Schlossberg

  49. I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.~ Pearl S. Buck

  50. If a true artist were born in a pigpen and raised in a sty, he would still find plenty of inspiration for his work. The only need is the eye to see. ~ Willa Cather

    Creative Writing Quotes 51 - 60

  51. Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ~ Scott Adams

  52. The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense. ~ Tom Clancy

  53. Becoming a writer means being creative enough to find the time and the place in your life for writing.~ Heather Sellers

  54. Like most—maybe all— writers, I learned to write by writing and, by example, by reading books. ~ Francine Prose

  55. We have always learned about life by dramatising our questions. ~ Celia Brayfield

  56. The writer, like everyone else, is equipped in infancy with a thick padding of things he believes to be true, but which aren't. ~ Jon Franklin

  57. Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. ~ Jules Renard

  58. Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. ~ Franz Kafka

  59. One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment. ~ Hart Crane

  60. If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you. ~ Oscar Wilde

    Creative Writing Quotes 61 - 70

  61. Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself—it is the occurring which is difficult. ~ Stephen Leacock

  62. Every great and original writer, in proportion as he is great and original, must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished. ~ William Wordsworth

  63. The muscles of writing are not so visible, but they are just as powerful: determination, attention, curiosity, a passionate heart.~ Natalie Goldberg

  64. If you can't play all the instruments in the orchestra of story, no matter what music may be in your imagination, you're condemned to hum the same old tune. ~ Robert McKee

  65. The novelist's ambition is not to do something better than his predecessors but to see what they did not see, say what they did not say. ~ Milan Kundera

  66. Without craft, art remains private. Without art, craft is merely hackwork.~ Joyce Carol Oates

  67. Literature flourishes best when it is half a trade and half an art.~ William Ralph Inge

  68. Fiction is a pack of lies that masquerades as truth. Don't risk spoiling your carefully crafted lies with too much truth—or with too little.~ Randy Ingermanson

  69. Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life. ~ Lawrence Kasdan

  70. Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself. ~ Truman Capote

    Creative Writing Quotes 71 - 80

  71. One should be able to return to the first sentence of a novel and find the resonances of the entire work. ~ Gloria Naylor

  72. All the elements of good writing depend on the writer's skill in choosing one word instead of another. ~ Francine Prose

  73. Good prose almost always requires both showing and telling, scenes and summary, the two basic components of creative prose. ~ Laurie Alberts

  74. To be the kind of writer you want to be, you must first be the kind of thinker you want to be. ~ Ayn Rand The Art of Fiction

  75. By what he chooses to present and by how he presents it, any author expresses his fundamental, metaphysical values. ~ Ayn Rand The Art of Fiction

  76. If he can give his readers no reason why they should read his book, except that the events happened to him, it is not a valid book. ~ Ayn Rand The Art of Fiction

  77. A hero knows it takes hard work and a long time to get published; a fool thinks it should happen immediately, because he thinks heÕs a hero already. ~ James Scott Bell The Art of War for Writers

  78. A story consists of someone wanting something and having trouble getting it. ~ Douglas Glover The Enamoured Knight

  79. Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible. ~ Rod Serling

  80. Plot is a map and I begin with it. It is what made me admire the novels of the 19th century; that the stories are foreshadowed. TheyÕre going someplace. ~ John Irving

    Creative Writing Quotes 81 - 90

  81. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

  82. Might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or, rather, rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him? ~ Freud 1908

  83. You don't write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

  84. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. ~ Anais Nin In Favor of the Sensitive Man, and Other Essays

  85. The truth, or success, of any writer's story lies partly in its specificity and its emotional honesty. ~ Gail Caldwell In Let's Take the Long Way Home, a Reader's Guide

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