Famous Quotes About Writing – Why We Love Them So

I truly love to read famous quotes about writing, mostly because they help to remind me, on days when I actually loath to write, that our self-respect as writers lies in the doing of writing, and not in the done. Oftentimes, a single quote will be enough to get me back to the page and away from those ghastly inner wells of self-pity and self- doubt.

“Why should we all use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold, compassionate, and so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” -Brenda Ueland

famous quotes about writing

Encouragement To Keep Moving Forward

Writers have many moods, and one of the most detrimental and challenging to deal with is when self-doubt takes over and we refuse to be creative.  This is counter to our true nature, and when we fall into this darkness we are closing the door to our creativity – we are closing the door to Spirit.  In my experience, I have found that we writers love other writers and if we don’t have a writer friend or two in our life, then reading just the right quote from a fellow writer can feel like a healing balm to an open wound. Many writers I know are highly sensitive – not fragile – but delicate. We need to hear the encouragement of other artists that our creative life is worthwhile, and that what we create while witnessing our own version of the truth, is both a valuable and important contribution to the world. A few key words by a much loved writer who has gone before us can do wonders in shedding some much needed light on our dark and paralyzing places.

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

Many Famous Quotes About Writing Are Inspiring

Our writing ancestors are such sources of inspiration. Not only has their work survived, but when we read their work, or a snippet of their work, we soon realize that their creative spirit has survived as well.  We can literally feel it in the way our own spirit is lifted, often to great heights of inspiration. To tune into a writing ancestor’s creative spirit is such an honor, one that can often fill us with a deep sense of pride for our craft. It also has the ability to add new life and vigor to those places where we may have nodded off and at the same time, blesses us with the impetus and inspiration to keep on writing

“I honestly think in order to be a writer, you need to learn to be reverent.” -Anne Lamott

Transformation Happens When It’s Ready

So often, we writers tend to forget that our craft is not linear and we try to ‘plan’ everything out from the article we’re writing, to our life’s work, and our life in general. I find this fact about myself quite amusing now. In the past, I did not believe that the universe had a plan for my life and soon came to realize that when we are ready to transform, and even when we are not,  transformation will come to us. We can’t make it happen…not at all…and all our tidy little plans do nothing in contributing to any sense of real transformation.

“We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we are afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Ruin is a gift.  Ruin is the road to transformation.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

How Other Writers Can Transform Us

One of the greatest things that other writers can do for us is show us those places inside ourselves where our ego still demands to be in charge. This may come across as hostile feelings towards something we’ve read by a famous writer, something that has deeply pushed our buttons, but if we can be brutally honest with ourselves and witness our reactions with grace and humility, then it is possible to see clearly how easily transformation can be set in motion through the wisdom and creative spirit of other writers. The quote below by Carl Jung is one such example of a writer who pushed my buttons with his words so many years ago. I did not want to hear that freedom (creative or otherwise) came from making my darkness conscious. How right he was.

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” -C.G. Jung

The Shock We Sometimes Need of Brutal, Honest Writing

Every now and then I’ll come across a quote by a famous writer that socks a punch to the gut and leaves me on my knees from the powerful and brutally honest words they scribed, it seems, just for me. This quote by Anais Nin has done just that as I write this article. I am still reeling from the punch…This is the brilliance, and the healing, that can come from our writing ancestors. I am so grateful.

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book, or you take a trip, and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first restlessness.  The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure.  That is all.  It appears like an innocuous illness.  Monotony, boredom, death.  Millions live like this (or dies like this) without knowing it.  They work in offices.  They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place; a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.  Some never awaken.” -Anais Nin

The Wild, Passionate, Mystical Ecstasy of Creation

I have always believed that writing, or any art form for that matter, is simply the creative process realizing itself through us. It is something that we allow to happen, mostly by getting out of our head and and moving into our heart. This is much easier said than done, however. Why? Because artists are constantly at war within themselves between the human longing for a happy, secure life of deep satisfaction, and the often ruthless passion for creating, which can so often trump any personal desire we may have. It’s a kind of madness that comes with being a human instrument for the divine creator to move through; the madness, stemming from the ever present conflict to live a comfortable and stable life (our human survival instinct) versus the wild, passionate, mystical, ecstasy of letting our creativity dance through us uninhibited.

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I think what we are seeking is an experience of being alive…actually feeling the rapture of being alive.” – Joseph Campbell

How Validation From Our Peers Can Help

When we are too mired in simply surviving day to day, our creativity becomes squelched and all the lights go out making us feel dead, numb and grey. To live constantly within our creative projects on the other hand, has us losing touch with the physical, material world and leaving us un-grounded and insatiably spent. If there is a way to easily bridge these two worlds, I’d like to know what it is! This is when just the right quote from a famous writer who has lived this tug-o-war, brings the calming and centering validation that our creativity, and all that it asks of us, is entirely worth it.

“Creative people are distinguished by the fact that they can live with anxiety, even though a high price may be paid in terms of insecurity, sensitivity, and defenselessness for the gift of ‘divine madness,’ to borrow the term used by the classical Greeks.” – Rollo May

I Love Hearing From You

If you have any questions whatsoever or need a hand with anything, feel free to connect with me in the footer below or in the comment section.

Wishing you much love & happy writing!

Heather xo


  1. Anh Nguyen

    These quotes are certainly very inspiring. I’ve been struggling with my writing lately as a blogger. I just write too slow for my own sake (I can take up to a month to finish a post!) and because I want to develop my blog, it’s hard to be patient.

    Do you have any advice for me?

    I love that quote by Richard Bach about how professionals are amateurs who keeps going. It’s really true and very inspiring, you can only go far in life if you don’t give up.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • Heather

      Hi Anh,

      So glad you enjoyed the post and found it inspiring.

      There are a few reasons it can take a really long time to write a blog post or an article. Sometimes, if English is not our first language, this can prove to be a daunting task requiring much time.

      Sometimes we are just born with a huge tendency towards perfectionism, and this, too, can really slow things down, always thinking it’s ‘just not right’ yet.

      Other times our fears and insecurities’ get in the way…’will people like it…am I a good writer?’ etc…causing us to change and edit over and over again.

      If none of these apply to you, then you may just be spending far too much time intellectualizing the process. I’d suggest reading through some of my prior posts.

      All the best, Anh.

      Heather 🙂

  2. renan

    Hello Heather,

    Thank you for your post on Famous Quotes About Writing – Why We Love Them So.

    As with quotes from famous writers, there are also unknown sources of quotes that usually are born of the people, right?

    But I have a question for you, maybe two: which is the best known quotes in the world and secondly, how could I acquire these books that are not electronic. Any suggestions ?.

    I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.


    • Heather

      Hi Renan,

      Yes, of course, I’m sure there is an endless amount of wonderful quotes by everyday, talented people…I’m sure even yourself included!

      This post was focused on famous writers and their quotes simply because, famous writers tend to hold a lot of merit, usually having years and years, sometimes decades, of hard work and writing before they ever became famous, so their words tend to hold much wisdom and guidance. That’s not to say that a writer who is not famous cannot produce a quote full of wisdom and guidance…many, many, many of us do.

      I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to either of your questions. It would be interesting to find out which are the best known quotes on writing in the world (though I’m not sure how that would be determined) and if there is a book available containing them. Perhaps you should write one, Renan!

      Thanks for stopping by and happy writing!

      Heather 🙂


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