May I quote you? Great writing quotes.

Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov: Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.*

E. L. Doctorow: Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury: You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

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

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

Sharon O’Brien: 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.

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

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde: A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

W. Somerset Maugham: There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

*Anton Chekhov’s quote about the glint of light on glass is one of my all time favorite quotes. I think about this quote every time I consider “show, don’t tell.”

Do you have a favorite writer’s quote?

How many of these authors have you read?  

Quotes taken from Brainy Quote and Quote Garden

Photos from Wikipedia

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “May I quote you? Great writing quotes.

  1. Wowsa! I’m a lover of great quotes and every one of these is a keeper.I especially adore the one from Anton Chekhov. Just reading that single line lends me a true vision of great writing.

    There are loads of writerly quotes I find inspirational, amusing, or incredibly wise. One of my favorites:

    “The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold onto this illusion, even though he knows it’s not true.”
    ― John Steinbeck

  2. Great nuggets! The Chekhov line is a favorite of mine, too.

    Among my favorites are: “No one is able to enjoy such a feast than the one who throws a party in his own mind.” …Selma Lagerlöf

    “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” …Thomas Mann

    and, on the lighter side,
    “We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little.” …Anne Lamott

  3. Nice collection — sharing on FB.

  4. I love the Toni Morrison one.
    Love this one- “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”- Einstein
    I came across this one and chuckled. “Never throw up on an editor.”
    -Ellen Datlow

    • Never throw up on an editor! Oh, please, NO!! 🙂 Though I have gotten some throw-up return emails from unhappy clients. Like I have always said, not every editor is right for every writer. Thanks, TM, for the chuckle.

  5. All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.
    Ernest Hemingway, Old Newsman Writes, Esquire, December 1934

  6. Fantastic quotes! I’m definitely going to have to start collecting quotes about writing now that I’m finally embracing the fact that I am a writer — I would have said I was a communicator or a connector, but now I know I’m also a writer.

    Here are some fun ones:

    When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.
    Raymond Chandler

    I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.
    G. K. Chesterton

    The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector.
    Ernest Hemingway

  7. Ha! on the Chandler quote. I listen to lots of good advice, then I make my own informed decisions – sometimes I just go with my gut. Shit detector. Yup, have one of those and it is always calibrated!

  8. Vicki V. Lucas

    This quote has always made me smile.

    “Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.” J.R.R. Tolkien

  9. These are fabulous quotes. Thanks. I’m tweeting this post.

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