A Writer’s Heartbeats

Quotes to Inspire You for Your Writing or Any Other Life’s Passion You Pursue

January 8, 2018

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.

C.S. Lewis


December 4, 2017

To travel is to take a journey into yourself.

Danny Kaye, American actor and entertainer


November 27, 2017

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?

Henry David Thoreau, American author


November 13, 2017

I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.
Fred Rogers, children’s television host


November 6, 2017

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men.  No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.

Elbert Hubbard, author


October 30, 2017

Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.

Yoko Ono, Japanese writers, activist, song writer, peace activist


October 23, 2017

If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.

Frank Lane, American baseball executive


October 16, 2017

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.

—Arthur Miller, American playwright


October 2/9, 2017

Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.

Johnny Cash, American singer/songwriter


September 25, 2017

The spring, summer, is quite a hectic time for people in their lives, but then it comes to autumn, and to winter, and you can’t but help think back to the year that was, and then hopefully looking forward to the year that is approaching.

Enya, Irish singer/songwriter


September 18, 2017

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

Martin Luther King


September 11, 2017

If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.

Sandy Dahl, wife of Jason Dahl, pilot of United Flight 93


August 21, 2017

Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you hurt, you heal. After darkness, there is always light… Nothing lasts forever. Not the good or the bad.

Iain Thomas, author


August 14, 2017

Success comes from taking the initiative and following up… persisting… eloquently expressing the depth of your love. What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life?

Tony Robbins, life coach, author


August 7, 2017

Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.

Michael J. Fox, actor


July 31, 2017

“…[T]here are many mysteries; but incompetence is not one of them.”

Ernest Hemingway, American novelist 


July 10, 2017

A vacation is over when you begin to yearn for your work.

Morris Fishbein, physician; editor


July 3, 2017

Creativity requires a state of grace. So many things are required for it to succeed.

Magda Szabó, prominent Hungarian author


June 19, 2017

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.

Gail Devers, Olympic track champion


June 12, 2017

If you want to be a writer, stop talking about it and sit down and write!

Jackie Collins, romance novelist


May 29, 2017

Perfect is boring; spontaneity is the key.



May 22, 2017

Art is not what you see but what you make others see.

Edgar Degas, French artist


May 15, 2017

Don’t let your past blackmail your present and block a beautiful future.

Shahrukh Khan as Dr. Jehangir Khan in the movie Dear Zindagi


May 8, 2017

All you can do in this life is follow your dreams. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time.

David Walliams, British comedian, actor, and children’s author


May 1, 2017

Efficiency is doing the right thing. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.

Peter Drucker, Management guru


April 24, 2017

Fiction is life with the dull bits left out.

Clive James, Australian author


April 17, 2017

The more you try to be interested in other people, the more you find out about yourself.

Thea Astley, Australian author and satirist


April 10, 2017

I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities.

Whoopi Goldberg, actress, comedienne


April 3, 2017

Permit your dreams to see the daylight.

Bernard Kelvin Clive, motivational speaker


March 27, 2017

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

Pablo Picasso


March 20, 2017

Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.

Wendy Wasserstein, playwright


March 6, 2017

Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.

Peter F. Drucker, Austrian author, management consultant, and educator


February 27, 2017

So many things are possible as long as you don’t know they are impossible.

Mildred D. Taylor, author of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


February 20, 2017

Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.

Miguel de Unamuno, nineteenth-century Spanish professor of Greek language and literature


February 13, 2017

Love is the answer to everything. It’s the only reason to do anything. If you don’t write stories you love, you’ll never make it. If you don’t write stories that other people love, you’ll never make it.

Ray Bradbury


February 6, 2017

I’m uninterested in superheroes. I am only interested in real stories, real people, real connection.

Jamie Lee Curtis, award-winning actress and children’s author


January 30, 2017

The great thing about being a writer is that you are always re-creating yourself.

Martin Cruz Smith, mystery novelist


January 23, 2017

If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.

Maria Edgeworth, Irish author


January 16, 2017

Until we invent telepathy, books are our best choice for understanding the rest of humanity.

Christopher Paolini, YA author


January 9, 2017

There is love in holding and there is love in letting go.

Elizabeth Berg


December 19, 2016

Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change – it can not only move us, it makes us move.

Ossie Davis, actor and civil rights activist


December 12, 2016

Creativity could be described as letting go of certainties.

Gail Sheehy, American author, journalist


December 5, 2016

Good writers are monotonous, like good composers. They keep trying to perfect the one problem they were born to understand.

Alberto Moravia, Italian novelist and short story writer


November 28, 2016

Stories are consoling, fiction is one of the consolation prizes for having lived in the world.

Don DeLillo, National Book Award winner for White Noise


November 21, 2016

In books and in life, you need to read several pages before someone’s true character is revealed.

Gail Carson Levine, YA author of Ella Enchanted


November 14, 2016

What a curious power words have.

Tadeusz Borowski, Polish poet, survivor of German concentration camps


November 7, 2016

There are books so alive that you’re always afraid that while you weren’t reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river.

Marina Tsvetaeva, Russian poet


October 31, 2016

A book is not supposed to be a mirror. It’s supposed to be a door.

Fran Lebowitz, columnist


October 24, 2016

Be an encourager. Scatter sunshine. Who knows whose life you might touch with something as simple as a kind word.

Debbie Macomber, novelist, author


October 17, 2016

I cannot let the fear of the past color the future.

Julie Kagawa, author of YA and fantasy novels


October 2, 2016

The more you try to be interested in other people, the more you find out about yourself.

Thea Astley, Australian author


September 26, 2016

Ideas aren’t magical; the only tricky part is holding on to one long enough to get it written down.

Lynn Abbey, sci-fi/fantasy author


September 12, 2016

While thoughts exist, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.

Cyril Connolly, British literary critic


September 5, 2016

Find your quiet center of life and write from that to the world.

Sarah Orne Jewett, American author


August 29, 2016

Everything I was I carry with me, everything I will be lies waiting on the road ahead.

Ma Jian, Chinese novelist


August 22, 2016

What’s writing really about? It’s about trying to take fuller possession of the reality of your life.

Ted Hughes, British poet, husband to Sylvia Plath


August 15, 2016

Wanting to be liked can get in the way of truth.

Delia Ephron, American author and screenwriter


August 8, 2016

Telling a story is like reaching into a granary full of wheat and drawing out a handful. There is always more to tell than can be told.

Wendell Berry, award-winning author, Kentucky farmer


August 1, 2016

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

Pablo Picasso


July 25, 2016

Life is full of strange absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.

Luigi Pirandello, Italian novelist and poet


July 18, 2016

If your writing doesn’t keep you up at night, it won’t keep anyone else up either.

James M. Cain, American crime fiction writer


July 11, 2016

Intuition is seeing with the soul.

Dean Koontz


July 4, 2016

Be you writer or reader, it is very pleasant to run away in a book.

Jean Craighead George, children’s author, Newberry Honor winner


June 27, 2016

Dream big and dare to fail.

Norman Vaughan, American dogsled driver and explorer


June 13, 2016

Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.

Lorraine Hansberry, first African-American playwright to have a play enacted on Broadway


June 6, 2016

Stories make sense when so much around us is senseless, and perhaps what makes them most comforting is that while life goes on and pain goes on, stories do us the favor of ending.

John Hodgman, American author


May 30, 2016

It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner


May 23, 2016

Maybe who we are isn’t so much about what we do, but rather what we’re capable of when we least expect it.

Jodi Piccoult, bestselling author


May 16, 2016

Be who you are. / Give what you have.

Rose Ausländer, Jewish poet


May 2, 2016

She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.

Annie Dillard, American author


April 25, 2016

There are some works so luminous…so powerful that they give us strength, and force us to new undertakings. A book can play this role.

Hervé Le Tellier, French writer and linguist


April 18, 2016

Deserve your dream.

Octavio Paz, Mexican poet and Nobel winner


April 11, 2016

I know some who are constantly drunk on books as other men are drunk on whiskey.

H.L. Mencken, American satirist


April 4, 2016

Even when you have doubts, take that step. Take chances. Mistakes are never a failure—they can be turned into wisdom.

Cat Cora, American celebrity chef


March 28, 2016

Every weakness contains within itself a strength.

Shūsaku Endō, Japanese author


March 21, 2016

Sometimes the right thing feels all wrong until it is over and done with.

Alice Hoffman, American author


March 14, 2016

Sometimes I wonder how normal normal people are, and I wonder that most in the grocery store.

Elizabeth Moon, American sci/fi writer


March 7, 2016

Tomorrow’s life is too late. Live today.

Marcus Valerius Martialis, poet in ancient Rome


February 29, 2016

There are no easy answers, there’s only living through the questions.

Elizabeth George, American novelist


February 22, 2016

Finally, she mused that human existence is as brief as the life of autumn grass, so what was there to fear from taking chances with your life?

Mo Yan, Chinese novelist


February 15, 2016

I am not interested in being original. I am interested in being true.

Agostinho da Silva, Portuguese philosopher


February 8, 2016

I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.

Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series


February 1, 2016

My imagination functions much better when I don’t have to speak to people.

Patricia Highsmith, author of The Talented Mr. Ripley


January 25, 2016

If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.

Ayn Rand


January 18, 2016

I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books.

Jorge Luis Borges


January 11, 2016

To survive, you must tell stories.

Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose

January 4, 2016

You cannot kill a breeze, a wind, a fragrance; you cannot kill a dream or an ambition.

Michael Onfray, French philosopher


December 28, 2015

When you read a book, you hold another’s mind in your hands.

James Burke, British broadcaster


December 21, 2015

The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it.

B.K.S. Iyengar, Indian author


December 14, 2015

It doesn’t matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.

Jo Walton, Welsh-Canadian author


December 7, 2015

Shut your eyes and see.

James Joyce


November 30, 2015

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.

Madeleine L’Engle


November 23, 2015

We write in response to what we read and learn; and in the end we write out of our deepest selves.

Andrea Barrett, American novelist, author of The Air We Breathe


November 16, 2015

That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.

American short story writer Tim O’Brien


November 9, 2015

Sometimes I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.

Evelyn Waugh, British novelist


November 2, 2015

I believe that words are strong, that they can overwhelm what we fear when fear seems more awful than life is good.

Andrew Solomon, Pulitzer prize finalist


October 26, 2015

Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.

Emma Donoghue, Irish-born novelist and author of Room


October 19, 2015

Surprising what you can dig out of books if you read long enough, isn’t it?

Robert Jordan


October 12, 2015

We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories…And those that carry us forward, are dreams.

H.G. Wells


October 5, 2015

There is an odd synchronicity in the way parallel lives veer to touch one another, change direction, and then come close again and again until they connect and hold for whatever it was that fate intended to happen.

American true crime author Ann Rule


September 28, 2015

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.

E.L. Doctorow


September 21, 2015

Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.

Sara Henderson, Australian cattle ranch manager


September 14, 2015

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

Ray Bradbury


September 7, 2015

We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore.

John Wesley Powell, American geologist and explorer


August 31, 2015

Love isn’t an act, it’s a whole life.

Brian Moore, Irish-Canadian novelist


August 24, 2015

The problem with doing nothing is not knowing when you are finished.

Nelson DeMille, American author of thrillers


August 17, 2015

There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.

Beatrix Potter


August 10, 2015

I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling


August 3, 2015

To say goodbye is to die a little.

Raymond Chandler, American author


July 27, 2015

Life is just action and reaction, rationalizations are added later on.

Ibn-e-Safi (a.k.a., famed Pakistani writer and poet Asrar Ahmad)


July 20, 2015

I address you all tonight for who you truly are: wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers, and magicians. You are the true dreamers.

Brian Selznick, author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret


July 13, 2015

Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.

—Marie Lu, author of the Legends series


July 6, 2015

Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning… Anyone can start over and make a new ending.

Chico Xavier, Brazilian author


June 29, 2015

We have eyes, and we’re looking at stuff all the time, all day long. And I just think that whatever our eyes touch should be beautiful, tasteful, appealing, and important.

Eric Carle


June 22, 2015

People change and forget to tell each other.

Lillian Helman, American playwright and screenwriter


June 15, 2015

I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.



June 8, 2015

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

—Thomas Mann, German author


June 1, 2015

The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.

Richard Nathaniel Wright, African American author


May 25, 2015

Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos…to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream.

John Cheever, American novelist and short story writer


May 18, 2015

One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.

Sigmund Freud


May 11, 2015

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.

William Faulkner


May 4, 2015

Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

Oscar Wilde


April 27, 2015

A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.

Charles Baudelaire, author of the essay, “The Painter of Modern Life”


April 20, 2015

The world is a possibility if only you’ll discover it.

Ralph Ellison, author of The Invisible Man


April 13, 2015

The only way to do all the things you’d like to do is to read.

Tom Clancy, author of The Hunt for Red October


April 6, 2015

To put everything in balance is good; to put everything in harmony is better.

Victor Hugo, author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame


March 30, 2015

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

Dr. Seuss


March 23, 2015

Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.

John Updike, American author and multiple Pulitzer Prize winner


March 16, 2015

Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.

Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange


March 9, 2015

Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.

Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows


March 2, 2015

Rock bottom became the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my life.

J. K. Rowling


February 23, 2015

Everyone forgets Icarus also flew.

Jack Gilbert, three-time Pulitzer Prize-nominee


February 16, 2015

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.

Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple


February 9, 2015

Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.

Philip Jose Farmer, Hugo Award-winning sci/fi writer


February 2, 2015

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.

Edward Abbey, author of The Monkey Wrench Gang, advocate for the environment


January 26, 2015

I am a tiny seashell
that has secretly drifted ashore
and carries the sound of the ocean
surging through its body.

Edward Hirsch, poet and critic


January 19, 2015

I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.

A.A. Milne

(Fun fact, from the Goodreads quote page: “A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh, got his early education at a school run by his father. Sci-fi writer H.G. Wells was one his teachers. Later, Milne played on an amateur cricket team with Peter Pan writer J.M. Barrie and Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle.”)


January 12, 2015

There is something in me maybe someday
to be written; now it is folded, and folded,
and folded, like a note in school.

Sharon Olds, poet


January 5, 2015

Beauty and ingenuity beat perfection hands down, every time.

Nalo Hopkinson, Jamaican-born sci-fi/fantasy writer


December 22, 2014

Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.

Jane Austen


December 15, 2014

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary


December 8, 2014

You do have a story inside you; it lies articulate and waiting to be written — behind your silence and your suffering.

Anne Rice, author of Interview With a Vampire


December 1, 2014

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.

Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels


November 24, 2014

I have failed at many things, but I have never been afraid.

Nadine Gordimer, South African writer, anti-apartheid activist, friend to Nelson Mandela


November 17, 2014

Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.

Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline


November 10, 2014

The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.

Henry Green, British author


November 3, 2014

If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.

Ivan Turgenev, Russian novelist, contemporary of Leo Tolstoy


October 27, 2014

Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves.

—Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate


October 20, 2014

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.

Italo Calvino, journalist, author


October 13, 2014

Never give up…No one knows what’s going to happen next.

L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz


October 6, 2014

Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up.

Thomas Wolfe, American author


September 29, 2014

Nothing great in the world was accomplished without passion.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 18th century philosopher and writer


September 22, 2014

A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer.

Karl Kraus, Austrian writer and journalist


September 15, 2014

Good books tell the truth, even when they’re about things that never have been and never will be. They’re truthful in a different way.

Stanislaw Lem, Polish sci-fi writer, author of Solaris


September 8, 2014

“You’re a chef. I don’t pay you to burn things.”

—Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren,) in The Hundred-Foot Journey, to her head chef before firing him for a gross transgression


September 1, 2014

What is fiction if not a purposeful dreaming?

Jonathan Franzen


August 25, 2014

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.

Sharon O’Brien


August 18, 2014

If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.
Ernest Hemingway


August 11, 2014

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.

Isaac Asimov


August 4, 2014

“For me, focus means Focus One Course Until Successful. My life quote is ‘Be positive anyway!’ There is no other option.”

Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos and The Cookie Kahuna


July 28, 2014

We write to taste life twice.

Anais Nin


July 21, 2014

I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head.

—John Updike


July 14, 2014

“Forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”

Octavia Butler, American sci/fi writer


July 7, 2014

We write to remember our nows later.

Terri Guillemets, founder of The Quote Garden, http://www.quotegarden.com


June 30, 2014

Writing is both mask and unveiling.

E.B. White


June 23, 2014

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.

Richard Wright, American Hunger


June 16, 2014

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.

—E.L. Doctorow


June 9, 2014

A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.

—Joseph Conrad


June 2, 2014

Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. 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, author of The Poisonwood Bible


May 26, 2014

If you haven’t surprised yourself, you haven’t written

Eudora Welty


May 19, 2014

You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.
Larry Niven, American sci/fi writer


May 12, 2014

My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
—Anton Chekhov


May 5, 2014

It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.

Ernest Hemingway


April 28, 2014

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, your readers might like it.

William Randolph Hearst


April 21, 2014

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.

J.D. Salinger


April 14, 2014

Working on a new idea is kind of like getting married. Then a new idea comes along and you think, ‘Man, I’d really like to go out with her.’ But you can’t. At least not until the old idea is finished.

Stephen King


April 7, 2014

Every book has been written with guilt, powered by pain.  Every book has been a baby I did not bear, 10,000 meals I did not cook, 10,000 beds I did not make.

Erica Jong


March 31, 2014

A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.

Oscar Wilde


March 24, 2014

No book can be written till it wants to be written, till it shouts to be written, and raises up a persistent din in the writer’s head. And then, if you want peace, you just have to pull it out and freeze it in print. Nothing less would do.

Jyoti Arora, freelance writer


March 17, 2014

I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.

Joss Whedon, creator of the hit TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and director of the 2012 blockbuster film The Avengers


March 10, 2014

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.

—Robert Frost


March 3, 2014

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


February 24, 2014

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, American writer of speculative fiction


February 17, 2014

I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.
—Erica Jong, author of Fear of Flying


February 10, 2014

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, American sci-fi writer


February 3, 2014

You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.

John Rogers, screenwriter, television writer


January 27, 2014

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
—Ursula K. Le Guin, American sci-fi/fantasy writer


January 20, 2014

In general…there’s no point in writing hopeless novels. We all know we’re going to die; what’s important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.
Anne Lamott, political activist, speaker, writing instructor


January 13, 2014

A writer’s experiences become fire branded on the soul; writing knits the wounds and leaves behind the scars of life.

Ekta R. Garg, writer, editor, storyteller


January 6, 2014

Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.
—Anne McCaffrey, American sci-fi writer


December 30, 2013

It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.
—C. J. Cherryh, American sci-fi writer


December 16, 2013

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, award-winning science fiction/fantasy writer


December 9, 2013

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


December 2, 2013

To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.
—Allen Ginsberg, American writer, social activist


November 18, 2013

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.

—Benjamin Disraeli, late British writer and former Prime Minister


November 11, 2013

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.

—Edgar Rice Burroughs, American writer, creator of iconic characters Tarzan and John Carter


November 4, 2013

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, author of The Poisonwood Bible


October 28, 2013

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil—but there is no way around them.
—Isaac Asimov


October 21, 2013

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


October 14, 2013

Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.

—Ernest Hemingway


October 7, 2013

I figure, when in doubt: add space monkeys.

—Nathan Bransford


September 30, 2013

You shouldn’t have to talk yourself into an idea. It should talk itself into you.

—Nathan Bransford


September 23, 2013

“All writers without exception are scared to death. Some simply hide it better than others.”

—Dick Simon, founder of publishing company Simon and Schuster


September 16, 2013

“If a story is in you, it has to come out.”

—William Faulkner, American writer, Nobel laureate


September 9, 2013

The best style is the style you don’t notice.

—W. Somerset Maugham, British playwright, novelist and short story writer


September 2, 2013

The next big thing is never like the last big thing.

—Nathan Bransford


August 26, 2013

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.

—Agatha Christie, acclaimed murder mystery writer


August 19, 2013

Writing is a struggle against silence.

—Carlos Fuentes, Mexican essayist and novelist


August 12, 2013

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.

—Jules Renard, late French author and member of the prestigious literary organization the Académie Goncourt


August 5, 2013

A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.

—William Stafford, 17th century British author


July 29, 2013

There is creative reading as well as creative writing.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson


July 22, 2013

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.

—Anais Nin, Hispanic writer


July 14, 2013

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

—Stephen King


July 8, 2013

The only novels writers regret are the ones they never got around to writing.
—Nathan Bransford


June 24, 2013

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

—Mark Twain


June 17, 2013

The scariest moment is always just before you start.

—Stephen King


June 10, 2013

The desire to write grows with writing.

—Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch Renaissance humanist, priest, and theologian


June 3, 2013

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.

—Gustave Flaubert, French novelist, author of Madame Bovary


May 27, 2013

Writing is easy. Just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein.

—Red Smith, famous sports writer 


May 20, 2013

If you want something in your life you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done.

—J.D. Houston, novelist, essayist


May 13, 2013

Don’t let anything throw you off the goal you set for yourself.

—Judge George N. Leighton, retired judge, and a stalwart for civil rights


May 6, 2013

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.

—Tennessee Williams, American novelist and playwright of such classics as The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire


April 29, 2013

You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.

—Johnny Cash, considered one of the most influential singers of the twentieth century


April 22, 2013

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.

—Isaac Asimov, scientist, professor, and science fiction author extraordinaire


April 15, 2013

Writing is a struggle against silence.
—Carlos Fuentes, Mexican novelist and essayist


April 8, 2013

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.

—Carol Burnett, comedienne, actress, recipient of many awards for empowering and uplifting the role of women in show business


April 1, 2013

Write the story, take out all the good lines, and see if it still works.

—Ernest Hemingway


March 25, 2013

Never be passive.  Victories happen when you take charge of a game.  You can’t win by playing not to lose.

—Karen Kingsbury, novelist, former writer for the Los Angeles Daily News


March 18, 2013

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.

—Madame Marie Curie, physicist, chemist, and the first woman to win a Nobel prize


March 11, 2013

The only novels writers regret are the ones they never got around to writing.

—Nathan Bransford, former literary agent; currently, Bransford is the social media manager of CNET and bestselling author of the Jacob Wonderbar series


March 4, 2013

A woman is like a tea bag.  You never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water.

—Eleanor Roosevelt


February 25, 2013

I think the hardest thing about writing is writing.

—Nora Ephron, novelist and film director of such hits as Sleepless in Seattle and Julie & Julia


February 18, 2013

You shouldn’t have to talk yourself into an idea. It should talk itself into you.

—Nathan Bransford, former literary agent; currently, Bransford is the social media manager of CNET and bestselling author of the Jacob Wonderbar series


February 11, 2013

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.

—Elmore Leonard, American novelist and short story writer; some stories have inspired the current television series “Justified” on FX


February 4, 2013

Every writer I know has trouble writing.

—Joseph Heller, American novelist, author of the book Catch-22 and creator of that phrase


January 28, 2013

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.

—William Wordsworth, English romantic poet


January 21, 2013

“The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.”

—Leo Rosten, Polish scriptwriter and journalist


January 14, 2013

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”

Julia Child, innovator of French cuisine for the American public


4 thoughts on “A Writer’s Heartbeats

    authorswilliams said:
    November 16, 2015 at 9:50 am

    These quotes are amazing! Thank you for compiling them 🙂

      thewriteedge responded:
      November 16, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      My pleasure! I post new ones every Monday. Enjoy!

        authorswilliams said:
        November 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

        I wanted to ask first: is it alright if I reblog the quotes that inspire me the most and post a link back to your original posts? I respect the fact that you posted them first, which is why I am asking 🙂

        thewriteedge responded:
        November 17, 2015 at 3:07 pm

        Thank you so much. I deeply appreciate that! Yes, it’s completely fine to re-post the quotes that touched you. Keep writing, and stay in touch.

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