Wednesday, September 22, 2010

According to Edward Bylwer-Lyton, "The pen is mightier than the sword". That is very true. In this first installment of my new "And I Quote" series, you will find really hilarious and deeply insightful quotes about writing and being a writer.

I am constantly collecting quotes in a notebook and have been doing so for decades. I suppose you can call them my pearls of wisdom. Here are my favorites, which have provided insight, encouragement, comfort, humor and guidance along this path of creative evolution that I continue to nurture within myself.


  • "Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men." - Confucius
  • "I've been to a lot of places and done a lot of things, but writing was always first. It's a kind of pain I can't do without." - Robert Penn Warren
  • "Writing is easy. All you have to do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." - Gene Fowler
  • "I have made this a rather long letter because I haven't had time to make it shorter." - Blaise Pascal

Gore Vidal
  • "I am an obsessive re-writer, doing one draft and then another and another, usually five. In a way, I have nothing to say but a great deal to add."- Gore Vidal
  • "What is so wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man (or woman) who wrote it." - E.M. Forster
  • "It's not the college degree that makes a writer. The great thing is to have a story to tell." - Polly Adler
  • "To see one's name in print! Some people commit a crime for no other reason." - Gustave Flaubert

Winston Churchill


  • "Writing a book is an adventure. It begins as an amusement, then it becomes a mistress, then a master, and finally a tyrant." - Winston Churchill
  • "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." - Red Smith
  • "The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true." - John Steinbeck
  • "What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out the window." - Burton Rascoe

Ernest Hemingway
  • "The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in sh*t detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it." - Ernest Hemingway
  • "An author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children" - Benjamin Disraeli
  • "Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man." - Francis Bacon
  • "All a writer has to do to get a woman is to say he's a writer. It's an aphrodisiac." - Saul Bellow

Truman Capote
  • "Finishing a book is (as if) you took a child out in the yard and shot it." - Truman Capote
  • "One of the signs of Napoleon's greatness is that he once had a publisher (put to death)." - Siegfied Unseld
  • "In composing, as a general rule, run you pen through every other word you have written: you have no idea what vigor it will give your style." - Sydney Smith
  • "The career of a writer is comparable to that of a woman of easy virtue. You write first for pleasure, later for the pleasure of others, and finally for money." - Marcel Achard

William Faulkner
  • "Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, get the book written." - William Faulkner
  • "It is not my experience that society hates and fears the writer, or that society adulates the writer. Instead, my experience is the common one. That society places the writer so far beyond the pale that society does not regard the writer at all." - Anne Dillard
  • "People who write fiction, if they had not taken it up, might have become very successful liars." - Ernest Hemingway
  • "If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by (those) who move their lips when they are reading to themselves." - Don Maquis
It is said that many writers are really only creating a world in which the wrongs they suffered as a child could finally be righted. As the saying goes, I love being a writer. I just can't stand the paperwork!
Other articles by Bren Parks include:

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