Quotes about Writing


These are some favorite quotes about the writing process.

Do you realize what would happen if Moses were alive today? He’d go up to Mount Sinai, come back with the Ten Commandments, and spend the next eight years trying to get published.

~ Robert Orben, The Encyclopedia of One-Liner Comedy, 1971

If one waits for the right time to come before writing, the right time never comes.

~ James Russell Lowell, poet and critic, letter to Charles Eliot Norton, April 22, 1883

Everyone thinks they can be a writer. Most people don’t understand what’s involved. The real writers persevere. The ones that don’t either don’t have enough fortitude and they probably wouldn’t succeed anyway, or they fall in love with the glamour of writing, as opposed to the writing of writing.

~ Quoted in Oscar Wilde, by Leonard Cresswell Ingleby, 1907

It’s impossible to over-promote a book. In real estate, it’s location, location, location. In book writing, it’s promotion, promotion, promotion.

~ Robert Kowalski, author of The 8-Week Cholesterol Cure (1989), in a speech before the Independent Writers of Southern California, January 28, 1991

Don’t expect anyone to do your selling for you. That’s your job.

~ John Kremer’s warning to writers, 1,001 Ways to Market Your Books, 1999

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

~ Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies, 1927

Self-publishing works best with “how-to” books and carefully targeted niche markets.

~ Anne Kates Smith, U.S. News & World Report, June 8, 1992

One of the biggest mistakes [self-publishers make] is a poor choice of subject. The average person does not really think about the marketability of their subject before they get started.

~ Marilyn Ross, Griffith’s Spotlight newsletter, November 1987

Self-publishing is not for everyone, not is it equally suitable for all types of books.

~ David M. Brownstone and Irene M. Franck, The Self-Publishing Handbook, 1985

Self-publishing will consume all the time, concentration and energy you’ve got. If you don’t want to commit your soul to the project, forget it.

~ Mark Alvarez, Home-Office Computing, February 1992

I prefer to underwrite. Simple, clear as a country creek.

~ Attributed to Truman Capote, novelist

The writer does the most, who gives his reader the most knowledge, and takes from him the least time.

~ Charles Caleb Colton, Preface to Iacon, 1825

It is my ambition to say in ten sentence what everyone else says in a whole book — what everyone else does not say in a whole book.

~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, 1888

Most of the time, less is more.

~ Donald Murray, Writing for Your Readers, 1983

A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, for the same reason that a machine should have no unnecessary parts.

~ William Strunk, Jr., The Elements of Style, 1959

From The Quotable Writer by William A. Gordon © 2000

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