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Quotes about Writing and Self-Publishing  to Inspire You to Write a Best-Selling Book

Writing and Publishing Image

Here are some quotes about writers, quotes about grammar, and quotes themselves by famous writers and and not-so-famous authors:

Why do writers write? Because it isn't there.
— Thomas Berger

I'd rather be a failure at something I enjoy than a success at something I hate.
— George Burns

You don't write because you want to say something: You write because you've got something to say.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

I'd rather live precariously in my own office than comfortably in somebody else's.
— Peter Mayle

Syzygy, inexorable, pancreatic, phantasmagoria — anyone who can use those four words in one sentence will never have to do manual labor.
— W. P. Kinsella

If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.
— Dan Poynter

I feel very rich when I have time to write and very poor when I get a regular paycheck and no time at my real work.
— Natalie Goldberg

I did toy with the idea of doing a cook-book . . . . The recipes were to be the routine ones: how to make dry toast, instant coffee, hearts of lettuce and brownies. But as an added attraction, at no extra charge, my idea was to put a fried egg on the cover. I think a lot of people who hate literature but love fried eggs would buy it if the price was right.
— Groucho Marx

I know that we are ignorant and lack artistic talent but is this any reason to give up on our self-help book? That crackpot Ernie Zelinski has written several.
— Cartoon caption in How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free (over 125,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)

Retirement Book

There is probably no hell for authors in the next world — they suffer so much from critics and publishers in this.
— C. N. Bovee

Every writer I know has trouble writing.
— Joseph Heller

The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any.
— Russell Baker

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

Write drunk; edit sober.
— Ernest Hemingway

I'm a lousy writer; a helluva lot of people have got lousy taste.
— Grace Metalious

Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.
— Ernest Hemingway

An editor should have a pimp for a brother so he'd  have someone to
look up to.
 — Gene Fowler (Writer)

How often we recall with regret that Napoleon once shot at a magazine editor and missed him and killed a publisher. But we remember with charity that his intentions were good.
 — Mark Twain

When I had got my notes all written out I thought I'd polish it off in two summers, but it took me twenty-seven years.
— Arnold Toynbee

The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are; first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third, common sense.
— Thomas Edison

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up, because by that time I was too famous.
— Robert Benchley

Nice guys can't write.
— Knox Burger (Literary Agent)

I do not enjoy writing at all. If I can turn my back on an idea, out there in the dark, if I can avoid opening the door to it, I won't even reach for a pencil.
— Richard Bach, author of several best-selling books, including Illusions

It isn't much of a book of retirement quotations if I'm not in it.
— Ernie Zelinski, author of The Joy of Not Working (over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
— Sylvia Plath

Loafing is the most productive part of a writer's life.
— James Norman Hall

An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of
doubtful competency.
— Mark Twain

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
— Richard Bach

When a thought is too weak to be expressed simply, simply drop it.
— Vauvenargues

Always remember that if editors were so damned smart, they would know how to dress.
— Dave Barry

Writing books is certainly a most unpleasant occupation. It is lonesome, unsanitary, and maddening. Many authors go crazy.
— H. L. Mencken

Writing is a profession in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none.
— Jules Renard

Books for general reading always smell bad; the odor of common people hangs around them.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.
— Leo Tolstoy

No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.
— Antonin Artaud

I hate books, for they only teach people to talk about what they don't understand.
— Jean-Jacques Rosseau

A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one.
— Baltasar Gracián

Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late
to bloom, but they dare to go it alone.
— John Updike

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until
drops of blood form on your forehead.
— Gene Fowler

The books I haven't written are better than the books other people
have.
— Cyril V. Connolly

Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.
— Ernest Hemingway

I read my own books sometimes to cheer me when it is hard to write and then I remember that it was always difficult and how nearly impossible it was sometimes .
— Ernest Hemingway

A writer should get as much education as possible, but just going
to school is not enough; if it were, all owners of doctorates would
be inspired writers.
— Gwendolyn Brooks, US poet

Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.
— Sholem Asch

All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

There's no greater bliss in life than when the plumber eventually comes to unlock your drains. No writer can give that sort of pleasure.
— Victoria Glendinning

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

I can’t do any more writing because I’m contemplating a gigantic lawsuit and looking around for a defendant.
— Mark Twain

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.
— Peter De Vries

The wastebasket is a writer's best friend.
— Isaac Bashevis Singer

"An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with,
insists on boring future generations."
— Charles de Montesquieu (1869-1755)

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

A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.
— Danielle Steel

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
— Walter Wellesley

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

Aggression, the writer's main source of energy.
— Ted Solotaroff

In other countries, art and literature are left to a lot of shabby bums living in attics and feeding on booze and spaghetti, but in America the successful writer or picture-painter is indistinguishable from any other decent businessman.
— Sinclair Lewis

For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
— Catherine Drinker Bowen

America is no place for an artist: to be an artist is to be a moral leper, an economic misfit, a social liability. A corn-fed hog enjoys a better life than a creative writer, painter, or musician. To be a rabbit is better still.
— Henry Miller

Some writers take to drink, others take to audiences.
— Gore Vidal

There never was a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn't be. He is too many people, if he's any good.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. . . . Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.
— Walter Benjamin

A genius can never expect to have a good time anywhere, if he is a genuine article, but America is about the last place in which life will be endurable at all for an inspired writer of any kind.
— Samuel Butler

In America, the race goes to the loud, the solemn, the hustler. If you think you're a great writer, you must say that you are.
— Gore Vidal

Given that external reality is a fiction, the writer's role is almost superfluous. He does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there.
— J. G. Ballard

A great writer creates a world of his own and his readers are proud to live in it. A lesser writer may entice them in for a moment, but soon he will watch them filing out.
— Cyril Connolly

A man writes to throw off the poison which he has accumulated because of his false way of life. He is trying to recapture his innocence, yet all he succeeds in doing (by writing) is to inoculate the world with a virus of his disillusionment. No man would set a word down on paper if he had the courage to live out what he believed in.
— Henry Miller

All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
— George Orwell

An author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.
— Benjamin Disraeli

Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.
— James Baldwin

You must not suppose, because I am a man of letters, that I never tried to earn an honest living.
— George Bernard Shaw

Writers, you know, are the beggars of Western society.
— Octavio Paz

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
— Ernest Hemingway

Good authors, too, who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Writing prose . . .
Anything goes.
— Cole Porter

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

The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.
— Samuel Johnson

Great writers are the saints for the godless.
— Anita Brookner

I believe that it is my job not only to write books but to have them published. A book is like a child. You have to defend the life of a child.
— George Konrád

The more books we read, the clearer it becomes that the true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of any consequence.
— Cyril Connolly

I hold any writer sufficiently justified who is himself in love with his theme.
— Henry James

I'm the kind of writer that people think other people are reading.
— V. S. Naipaul

Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book; a personality which, by birth and quality, is pledged to the doctrines there set forth, and which exists to see and state things so, and not otherwise.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

My idea is always to reach my generation. The wise writer . . . writes for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Justice to my readers compels me to admit that I write because I have nothing to do; justice to myself induces me to add that I will cease to write the moment I have nothing to say.
— C. C. Colton

The writer is either a practising recluse or a delinquent, guilt-ridden one; or both. Usually both.
— Susan Sontag

The shelf life of the modern hardback writer is somewhere between the milk and the yoghurt.
— John Mortimer

Nowadays three witty turns of phrase and a lie make a writer.
G. C. Lichtenberg

His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning. As a writer he has mastered everything except language.
— Oscar Wilde writing about author George Meredith.

It's very hard to be a gentleman and a writer.
— W. Somerset Maugham
 

See the Sensational Quotes for Smart People Website for More Quotes about Writers.

Quotations about Writing 

and Money

I wouldn't write any kind of book without a contract and an advance. You can't invest that amount of time and effort without one.
— Harrison E. Salisbury

Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away.
— Clarence Darrow

Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But
always for money.
— Louis Untermeyer

If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by persons who move their lips when they're reading to themselves.
— Don Marquis

Writing is turning one's worst moments into money.
— J. P. (James Patrick) Donleavy

Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for.
— Mark Twain

Someone told me that each equation I included in the book would halve the sales.
— Stephen Hawking

No one but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
— Samuel Johnson

Quotations about Grammar

 and Quotations

Here are some quotes about grammar and quotes themselves by famous writers and and not-so-famous authors.

Quotations are a columnist's bullpen. Stealing someone else's words frequently spares the embarrassment of eating your own.
— Peter Anderson

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
— Mark Twain

As far as I'm concerned, "whom" is a word that was invented to make everyone sound like a butler..
— Calvin Trillin

At painful times, when composition is impossible and reading is not enough, grammar and dictionaries are excellent for distraction..
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning My spelling is Wobbly.
 
It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places..
— A. A. Milne
 
When I hear the hypercritical quarreling about grammar and style, the position of the particles, etc., etc., stretching or contracting every speaker to certain rules of theirs . . . I see that they forget that the first requisite and rule is that expression shall be vital and natural, as much as the voice of a brute or an interjection: first of all, mother tongue; and last of all, artificial or father tongue. Essentially your truest poetic sentence is as free and lawless as a lamb's bleat.
— Henry David Thoreau  
    Reading and writing, arithmetic and grammar do not constitute education, any more than a knife, fork and spoon constitute a dinner.
    — John Lubbock
     
    Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke..
    — F. Scott Fitzgerald
     
    I don't want to talk grammar. I want to talk like a lady..
    — George Bernard Shaw
     
    What the devil to do with the sentence "Who the devil does he think he's fooling?" You can't write "Whom the devil- ".
    — Paul Goodman
     
    Ah, yes! I wrote the "Purple Cow" —
    I'm sorry, now, I wrote it!
    But I can tell you anyhow,
    I'll kill you if you quote it!
    — Gelett Burgess
     
    This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.
    — Winston Churchill
     
    Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
    — Alan Jay Lerne
     
    Good intentions are invariably ungrammatical.
    — Oscar Wilde

    George Moore wrote brilliant English until he discovered grammar.
    — Oscar Wilde

    Commas in The New Yorker fall with the precision of knives in a circus act, outlining the victim.
    — E. B. White

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