Inspirational quotes for writers

If a ten year old doesn’t understand the content of an artwork, then by no means can it be called revolutionary- Pablo Picasso

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.   -Hemingway

Everything a writer learns about the art or craft of fiction takes just a little away from his need or desire to write at all. In the end he knows all the tricks and has nothing to say.   -Raymond Chandler

Breaking into the film business is not a problem that resolves itself through a single answer or path. It’s a problem that succumbs only to a process, a series of efforts taken over time. And the bitch of it is, you never know which is the right strategy until it pays off. So you do everything. Whether the odds are with you are not. You do everything.   -Ted Rossario

The biggest problem with most rewrites is that you start at page one, which is already probably the best-written page in the script. You tweak as you go, page after page, moving commas and enjoying your cleverness — all the while forgetting why you’re rewriting the script. Instead, you need to stop thinking of words and pages, and focus on goals.   -John August

A general rule: the more limited the point of view, the more elegant, and effective, your story.   -Ted Rossario

A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.   -Thomas Mann

The amazing thing about any movie is not whether it’s good, but that it got made at all.   -Frank Darabont

When a film is about everything, it’s hard for it to be about anything.   -Ted Rossario

I think you must remember that a writer is a simple-minded person to begin with and go on that basis. He’s not a great mind, he’s not a great thinker, he’s not a great philosopher, he’s a story-teller.   -Erskine Caldwell

Successful people don’t wait. They don’t get stalled on one step, one issue, one project. They continuously go about the problem of creating value. They’re not interested in struggling and waiting, they’re focused on doing.    -Frank Darabont

There’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.   -Margaret Atwood

Good ideas are often murdered by better ones.   -Roddy Doyle

When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them after reading what you have written, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.    -Neil Gaiman

When you start writing you’re 98% pure writer and 2% critic. After you’ve written for a length of time, you’ve learned a great deal about your craft, and you’ve become 2% pure writer and 98% critic. It’s like writing uphill.   -David Westheim

I write only when I’m inspired. Fortunately I’m inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.   -William Faulkner

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

You’re done, you’re thrilled, you want to get it out there. But that ignores the one advantage a first time writer has over the pro, which is time.   -Ted Rossario

Stop thinking about writing as art.  Think of it as work.  If you’re an artist, whatever you do is going to be art.  If you’re not an artist, at least you can do a good day’s work.   -Paddy Chayefsky

The first draft of anything is shit.   -Hemingway

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought  together.   -Vanghogh

If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.   -Louis L’Amour

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.   -Erica Jong

Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.   -Joseph Joubert

Making it precise…  My own rules are very simple.  First, cut out all the wisdom; then cut out all the adjectives.   -Somerset Maugham

An author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth without pity and destroy most of it.   -Colette

Write from your heart; rewrite from your head.   -Viki King

Every writer I know has trouble writing.   -Joseph Heller

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.   -Richard Bach

Our primary function is to create an emotion and our second job is to sustain that emotion.   -Alfred Hitchcock

If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.   -Wilson Mizner

Great writers aren’t great first-drafters. They’re great rewriters.   -Andrew Bennett

The scriptwriter lives the life of the safe passive gatherer but possesses the dangerous inner terrain of an active hunter.   -Jack Feldstein

Writing a screenplay is like climbing a mountain. When you’re climbing, all you can see is the rock in front of you and the rock directly above you.You can’t see where you’ve come from or where you’re going.   -Syd Field

Don’t get it right, get it written.   -Art Arthur

A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what`s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.   -Kubrick

I have a process where I eliminate dialogue and replace it with actions that can speak the same truth, if possible.   -Kim Ki-duk

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.   -Albert Einstein

Planning to write is not writing. Outlining…researching …talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.   -E.L. Doctorow

Bad writers are bad because they stop too soon. In fact, let’s take a step back. The only quality, I think, that marks the writer as different from everyone else is simply an unwillingness to quit. Others give up when they learn writing is hard; the writer struggles on. When I sit down in front of the blank page, it’s no easier for me to fill it than anyone else. The non-writer looks at theblank page and — quite sensibly — says, ‘forget it, I’m outta here.’ But if they had to, they could put a few words down there — just like I do. Only the words wouldn’t be any good. So the non-writer gets frustrated, gives up and leaves. Me, too, I get frustrated… but I sit there, and work to make it better. Anybody who’s willing to struggle, I think, can write. The real work is to stick at it until you find the gold. To get to that funny line. To do the hard work no one else wants to do, but everyone wants to have done. To discover the great character bit, the clever story turn. Until you have it, you don’t have it. Until it’s there, it’s not there — and you need to stick at it until it is there.   -Terry Rossario

Though this be madness
There is method in it.   -Shakespeare

…All the stories in the mail that came back in through a slit in the saw mill floor, with notes of rejection that would never call them stories, but always anecdotes, sketches, notes etc…
What I had to do was work. I didnt care particularly how it all came about. I didnt take my own life seriously anymore, any one else’s life,yes but not mine. They all wanted something that I didnt want and I would get it without wanting it, if I worked.
To work is the only thing. It was the only thing that always made you feel good and in the mean time it was my own damned life and I would lead it where and how I pleased..   -Hemingway

The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.   -Tom Clancy

Our doubts are traitors and makes us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.   -Shakespeare

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.   -Scott Adams

The essence of dramatic form is to let an idea come over people without it being plainly stated. When you say something directly, it is simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover it for themselves.   -Stanley Kubrick

Within the first pages of a screenplay a reader can judge the relative skill of the writer simply by noting how he handles exposition.    -Robert McKee

It wasn’t until about the fifth draft of ‘sixth sense’ that I really began to figure it out. It was then that I realized he’s dead. It took me five more drafts to execute it right.   -M. Night Shyamalan

The writing begins when you’ve finished. Only then do you know what you’re trying to say.   -Mark Twain

There can’t be art without risk. It’s like saying No Sex, and then expecting there to be children.   -Francis Ford Coppola

I always wanted to be a filmmaker, but I kept it a secret until I did my first movie.   -Ang Lee

You’re not going to stumble on that career making concept if you keep revising the same pet idea for five years.   -Ted Rossario

If you have four ideas, all equally viable, I’d recommend writing the one that has the best ending. That’s the one you’ve thought through the most, and the one you’re least likely to abandon midway.   -John August

The first draft is nothing more than a starting point, so be wrong as fast as you can.   -Andrew Stanton

The myth about me is that I sold my first screenplay and it’s true. But I had also worked very hard as a fiction writer for ten years and that’s how I learned the craft of telling stories.   -Akiva Goldman

Everyone who tells me they don’t have time to write, I just say, ‘One scene a night for three months, and you’ll have a movie—you can even use the weekends.’ It’s possible to be a writer if you want to be a writer, even without all the time in the world….After doing the dishes, instead of turning on the television or reading a book or going to the movies, write one scene. Whatever you do write one scene.   -Bruce Joel Rubin

Do all good screenplays fit the paradigm? Yes. But that does not make them good screenplays, or good movies. The paradigm is a form, not a formula.   -Syd Field

Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.   -Oscar Wilde


16 thoughts on “Inspirational quotes for writers

  1. Wonderful. Keeps the fire from getting doused.
    Don’t mean to be picky. But #3 is Terry “Rossio” not “Rosario” from A man whom I look up to.
    Keep the posts coming. Have kept you blog on my morning coffee cup

  2. My aim in constructing sentences is to make the sentence utterly easy to understand, writing what I call transparent prose. I’ve failed dreadfully if you have to read a sentence twice to figure out what I meant.
    -Ken Follett

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

    Easy reading is damn hard writing.
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne

    When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
    -Enrique Jardiel Poncela

    Even though these quotes are from different writers, each of them scratches the same itch. That of writing transparent prose, yet being nuanced enough to give scope to colorful imagination.

  3. And this one’s my favorite,

    ‘There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no-one knows what they are.’

    Somerset Maugham

    Ditto goes for screenplay.

  4. i think u can add this one –
    “All Art is quite useless” – Oscar Wilde .
    i love his quotes , cynical and sometimes true …

  5. I have a quote/story. There is a quote that another person said named Chuck Mondry that said “I don’t think you can get around it. good writing’s inspired.Period.” and that is true. One of the biggest mistakes I make in screenwriting is getting myself paranoid that my movie is too much like another. I will point out the parts of it and then start finding the smallest of parts, like a quote that is related to an analogy made. If you are writing a screenplay, try not to worry to much about it. don’t let what happened with me happen with you. I mean , think about it. How many movies are out there that have similar idea’s to yours? probably, like, alot. but that doesn’t mean it isn’t your idea. it is your idea. You just didn’t know it, but you were inspired by the other movie. Look at all the differences and stop getting so intimidated by the similarities.

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