Quotes for Writers to Live by

inkwell“Oh it is only a novel! . . . In short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor, are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.”Jane Austen (1775–1817)

Oh, indeed. It’s amazing how many people have no idea how much work writing a book is. In fact, I wonder how many of us would attempt it if we really knew!

“Learn as much by writing as by reading.”Lord Acton (1834–1902)

I believe that a writer needs to READ–a lot. Read everything. Learn from the badly written as well as the beautifully-spun prose. And then practice writing. Practice may not make perfect, but it does help!

“However great a man’s natural talent may be, the act of writing cannot be learned all at once.”Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)

I agree. See my above comment. Learn your craft, and hone it. I have another quote I love, from Ernest Hemingway: “There are no great writers, only great re-writers.”


Published in: on January 7, 2009 at 7:11 am  Comments (12)  
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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am a Doc. I have worked on mine four years, and just now have a MS worthy of revision.


  2. Oh so true. So many folks vomit ideas on the keyboard and call it “writing.” Visit me at http://www.SandySays1.wordpress.com

  3. Love the quotes! Brilliant!
    Completely agree.

    Joan De La Haye

  4. Isn’t the first quote from Northanger Abbey?

    This is Brooke from book blog tours. WordPress keeps spamming me so I had to use my backup blog login to comment.

  5. Interesting post! I liked the way you did the quotes and commented on them.

  6. These are good tips for book illustrators, too! I don’t just try to absorb all the great art I see, I also try to read everything. I remember looking at YA Sci-Fi novel covers as a kid, reading the story, and becoming so indignant at how different the cover was from the story that I figured the illustrator must not have even read it. It used to make me mad, and I wondered if the author was ticked off, too. All that work to have the cover be misleading…

  7. Very true. Many writers believe they don’t have to “practice” writing. It will just happen when they put pen to paper and the book will flow from them.


  8. Enjoyed this. As a writer “with the audacity to write novels,” I especially appreciated the first quote and your comment.

  9. How true that is, but I feel compelled to continue on.

    Morgan Mandel

  10. I probably spend as much time editing my projects as I do in writing the first draft, so that last quote really hit home for me!

  11. Good quotes, Heidi. On the editing thing, I’m one of those constant editors. By the time I get to the end of a book, I’ve edited parts of it dozens of times. I don’t find writing diifficult. The hard part is creating the time to do it. I’m not a good time organizer.

  12. Great quotes, great responses!
    Don’t we all need to remember these things. Thanks for this. Audacity, indeed.

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