Writers, On Writing

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say. “

–F. Scott Fitzgerald

“The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.  By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.”

–Mark Twain

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

–William Wordsworth

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” 

–Mark Twain

“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

–Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Be obscure clearly.”

–E.B. White

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

–Stephen King

“It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.”

–Sinclair Lewis

“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.”

–Franz Kafka

“One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.”

–Hart Crane

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.”

–Samuel Johnson

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

–Benjamin Franklin

“I’ve tried to reduce profanity but I reduced so much profanity when writing the book that I’m afraid not much could come out. Perhaps we will have to consider it simply as a profane book and hope that the next book will be less profane or perhaps more sacred.”

–Ernest Hemingway

“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

“In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”

–George Orwell

“However great a man’s natural talent may be, the act of writing cannot be learned all at once.”

–Jean Jacques Rousseau

“If you want to study writing, read Dickens. That’s how to study writing, or Faulkner, or D.H. Lawrence, or John Keats. They can teach you everything you need to know about writing.”

–Shelby Foote


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