During my seven decades, I have filled several file drawers and countless folders with quotes about writing from well-known authors whom I admire. Thus, I claim the right to offer my own quotes under the following title and with my tongue only partially planted in my cheek:
20 QUOTES ABOUT WRITING THAT SURELY WOULD BE FAMOUS IF ONLY I WERE
- Your path becomes much clearer when you realize that writing is essentially rewriting.
- While there are many POVs, all writing is first person.
- Be certain that when you “kill your darlings,” they actually deserve to die.
- Good writers are good counters. Count anything you can think of, except your number of drafts.
- “But” carries more weight than “and.” It signifies controversy.
- Research is like a tempting appetizer. Too much of it can spoil the main course.
- Write as if pulling out a single word would cause your entire manuscript to collapse upon itself.
- “Hackneyed” is a proper synonym for “overused,” as in thesaurus.
- When trying to write imaginative dialogue, be aware that real people tend to speak in idioms and adages. Sorry to burst your bubble.
- Creativity knows no bounds when thinking of reasons not to sit down and write today.
- You are a writer if you write. You are an author if you publish. Both are worthwhile passions that are not necessarily connected.
- If the words don’t come easy, you are making progress. It’s not supposed to be easy.
- “Show don’t tell” is the most misunderstood phrase in the writer’s toolbox. It’s also the most important. You will only understand it if you keep at it long enough.
- It may be true that everybody has a book in them. Dragging it out into the light, kicking and screaming, is where it gets tricky.
- Computer. Typewriter. Fountain Pen. Pencil. Chisel and stone. It doesn’t matter how you get there, only that you arrive.
- Living to write and writing to live are both admirable pursuits. One is not in conflict with the other.
- That blank page you’re staring at should cause excitement, not fear.
- Talking about your next book is like telling your lover how good tonight is going to be.
- Only when you know all the writing rules can you break some of them.
- A manuscript happens when the not writing becomes more painful than the writing.
NOTE TO READERS: Don’t bother filing away these quotes. Make up your own. You’re a writer.
Copyright © 2024 by Vince Vawter. All rights reserved. Vince Vawter, a journalist for 40 years, is the author of The Paperboy Trilogy — Paperboy, Copyboy, Manboy. Paperboy, published by Penguin Random House, is a 2014 Newbery Honor book. He lives in Louisville, Tennessee.