• August 2015

The Writer's Way: 31 Quotes to Help You Push Through the Blocks That Bind You

Jack Rawlins’ and Steve Metzger’s classic, The Writer’s Way, is in its ninth edition, and has two core principles:

  • Good writing begins when writers know their audience and write for the right reasons; and
  • Knowing their audience and having good reasons to write teaches writers everything they need to know about technique.

The book offers frank advice in a supportive, encouraging tone, as the authors lead readers step by step through the writing process, from pre-writing to polishing the final draft.

In the spirit of helping you find your inner writer, we offer a month’s worth of inspiration from others who have struggled to put pen to page, and managed to push through to the other side. So can you! Happy writing!

  • August 1: “Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.” — Enid Bagnold
  • August 2: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” — Ernest Hemingway
  • August 3: “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • August 4: “I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.” — Anna Quindlen
  • August 5: “You can’t build a plot out of jokes. You need tragic relief. And you need to let people know that when a lot of frightened people are running around with edged weaponry, there are deaths. Stupid deaths, usually. I’m not writing ‘The A-Team’ — if there’s a fight going on, people will get hurt. Not letting this happen would be a betrayal.” — Terry Pratchett
  • August 6: “Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things — thoughts, ideas, opinions.” — Paulo Coelho
  • August 7: “I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” — Steven Wright
  • August 8: “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” — Francis Bacon
  • August 9: “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” — Isaac Asimov
  • August 10: “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” — Gustave Flaubert
  • August 11: “The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” — Philip Roth
  • August 12: “To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” — Allen Ginsberg
  • August 13: “The problem with writing a book in verse is, to be successful, it has to sound like you knocked it off on a rainy Friday afternoon. It has to sound easy. When you can do it, it helps tremendously because it’s a thing that forces kids to read on. You have this unconsummated feeling if you stop.” — Dr. Seuss
  • August 14: “Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.” — William S. Burroughs
  • August 15: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” — George Orwell
  • August 16: “It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.” — Jack Kerouac
  • August 17: “I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.” — Roald Dahl
  • August 18: “Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” — Virginia Woolf
  • August 19: “For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.” — Catherine Drinker Bowen
  • August 20: “Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. … I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.” — Gore Vidal
  • August 21: “Writing is an act of ego, and you might as well admit it.” ― William Knowlton Zinsser, in “On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction”
  • August 22: “I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort.” — Clarice Lispector
  • August 23: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” — Virginia Woolf
  • August 24: “The first draft of anything is shit.” — Ernest Hemingway
  • August 25: “Literature — creative literature — unconcerned with sex, is inconceivable.” — Gertrude Stein
  • August 26: “The true writer has nothing to say. What counts is the way he says it.” — Alain Robbe-Grillet
  • August 27: “Life is painful and disappointing. It is useless, therefore, to write new realistic novels. We generally know where we stand in relation to reality and don’t care to know any more.” — Michel Houellebecq
  • August 28: “Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.” — Thomas Berger
  • August 29: “The number one thing I am earnestly attracted to is intelligence. Writers are thus the pinnacle of intelligence. While actors are great and awesome, writers literally create new worlds from scratch. What is sexier than that? Personally, I don’t know why every person out there isn’t dating a writer.” — Rachel Bloom
  • August 30: “The novel is an event in consciousness. Our aim isn’t to copy actuality, but to modify and recreate our sense of it. The novelist is inviting the reader to watch a performance in his own brain.” — George Buchanan
  • August 31: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin

Sources:

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