Inspiration Friday: Quotes about writing

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

After a long week, I believe we all could use a little writing inspiration and a reason to smile. Here are some quotes that I love.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. –Albert Einstein

People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it. –Harlan Ellison

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 a writer. –Ray Bradbury

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

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good. –William Faulkner

If you have other things in your life–family, friends, good productive day work–these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer. –David Brin

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition. –Isaac Asimov

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. –Orson Scott Card.

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

Write what you know. Write what you want to know more about. Write what you’re afraid to write about. –Cec Murphy


Which of these quotes is your favorite?

Do you have a favorite writing quote that isn’t listed here? Please share!

38 Responses

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  1. Good morning, Rachel. Thank you for serving up these great quotes with my morning coffee. I’ll add one more, from Oswald Chambers:
    “Imagination is the greatest gift God has given us and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him.”
    Hmmm, I imagine all of us in some mountain cabin, with our coffee, tea or hot chocolate having this conversation face-to-face. Who’s bringing the brownies?

    • Shirlee, I don’t have any brownies on hand but I can bring the sugar cookies my daughter and I made yesterday!

      These are wonderful, Rachel, especially the quotes about perseverance for the beginning writer. I love the Asimov one too–I see it played out everyday while my 3 year old runs around the house trying to do things “just like Curious George!” Even at such a young age her imagination and play are so much richer because of the written word.

    • Ohhh, a mountain cabin?!?! I’m in!

      I cannot make brownies to save my life, but I can make a truly epic triple chocolate cheesecake. Oh, and cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing.

    • I’ll make the brownies … I have found the perfect boxed brownie mix! Duncan Hines, chewy fudge brownies. I used to make them from a Betty Crocker recipe, but Duncan Hines is better! 🙂
      I’m so there, Shirlee! 🙂

    • Rachel Kent says:

      That would be a fun retreat! 🙂

  2. Write on! Thus, the Revolution!

    Attributed to Ed Abbey

  3. 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

    My mom has informed me that I am to write the family history. Typically Canadian, it starts on the shores of Hudson’s Bay with an Orkney Islander arriving to make his way in the early 1800’s. He marries a Cree girl, and so it began…
    I no more want to write that story than I want to write Japanese anime films. Mostly because she has it all written, she just needs to write it down.

    But I told her to give me a few decades, and I’ll get on it.

    Beth K. Vogt sent me a lovely gift: “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth.

    • Those are both beautiful quotes, Jennifer. I’m taking those to heart.

    • Elissa says:

      Perhaps you could encourage your mother to write her story herself. There’s no rule that says you can only have one writer per family. 🙂

      • A very good idea, Elissa. I have mentioned that very thought several times. The “Oh, but dear, *you* would do it so well” line is failing in its efforts. Yet, she keeps sending it my way.

    • Christine Dorman says:

      I love the Wordsworth quote! Thank you for sharing it, Jennifer.

    • Kiersti says:

      “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”–I love that! Thanks, Jennifer, Beth, and Wordsworth. 🙂

    • Mary R. P. Schutter says:

      Jennifer, as a labor of love to honor your mom’s wishes, write your family history soon, while those who know the answers to the questions that will come up as you write are still with you to help breathe life into your family story. Do it for your children and grandchildren and their children. I wish so much that I had written my family history before my grandmother and my mother passed away. Now, I have so many questions, but there is no one left to answer them.

  4. Kristen Joy Wilks says:

    Oh, I love that last one by Cec Murphy. Write what you know, what you want to know, what you are afraid of. Just, wow.

  5. “And what if people really like it? What if they want to read more? What if they come to love the woman behind the words, and draw inspiration and strength from her love of the Lord? You CAN write very well, and shouldn’t you trust us – the people who appreciate your skill and faith – to like what you do? In team-building exercises, there’s the famous ‘falling backwards’ exercise, in which you trust the people you’re teamed with to catch you before you crack your head. We’ll catch you, Shelli. We love you.” –Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    🙂 Just know that I can’t read this without tears pooling. And he’d say this to each and every one of us. So soak it in, because it applies to you, too.

    • Christine Dorman says:

      Oh, Shelli (and Andrew), this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it.

      Thank you, Andrew, for being such a good encourager. 🙂

      And Shelli, every word he said is true. You have an important story to share and the skill and talent with which to share it. When you do, it will touch and help so many people. May God bless you in that journey.

      • Thank you, Christine. Yes, aren’t his words just beautiful? And he said them when I needed them the very most. I keep this as a draft on my blog, and I read it often for encouragement.

      • Christine Dorman says:

        You’re welcome, Shelli. Yes, his words are beautiful. A wonderful gift that keeps giving since you are able to read it again when you’re in need.

        Have a great weekend. 🙂

    • Rachel Kent says:

      A great encourager is a WONDERFUL gift. We are blessed in this community.

    • Shelling (and everyone), I am so blessed to be in y’all’s company…

  6. Sheila King says:

    I think we got ourselves a little virtual writer’s retreat going on her. Let me refill my cup. . .

  7. Elissa says:

    I love all of these. At this point in my career though, Richard Bach’s quote resonates with me the most.

  8. Christine Dorman says:

    Thank you, Rachel. This is indeed a wonderful post for a Friday. The quotes are all so good it’s difficult to choose a favorite, but I’ve narrowed mine down to two:

    1) Einstein’s (which is SO inspirational)


    2) Bach’s (which is encouraging and important to remember, particularly in the midst of writing revision after revision or while sending out query after query).

    Thank you for this post.


  9. Judy Gann says:

    “Write the first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head.”

    From the movie Finding Forrester.

  10. Kiersti says:

    Thanks for the encouraging and thought-provoking post, Rachel!

    I think my favorite is Richard Bach’s, “A professional writer is just an amateur who didn’t quit.” That’s encouraging in this journey to persevere. 🙂

    I have a couple of quotes I’ve saved because they encourage me in this writing journey and remind me why stories matter, though one isn’t actually specifically about writing. But I think it definitely applies.

    The first is by Larry Moss, an acting coach who has worked with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio. Referring to acting (another form of storytelling), he writes in the introduction to his book The Intent to Live: “That’s what our work can do: we remind people that things can change, that wounds can heal, that people can be forgiven, and that closed hearts can open again.”

    Isn’t that beautiful? And definitely applies to writing, don’t you think?

    And then, from a Ted Talk by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
    “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

    Yay! I’m feeling more inspired already. Blessings, everyone!

  11. Love these quotes, Rachel. Thank you for the inspiration as I head into a weekend of editing.

  12. Rachel Kent says:

    Thank you for all of the wonderful quote additions, everyone!

    Hope you all have an amazing weekend.