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Albert Camus:

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.

Aldous Huxley:

The author of the Iliad is either Homer or, if not Homer, somebody else of the same name.

Aldous Huxley:

A bad book is as much of a labour to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author's soul.

Alice Walker:

Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book, If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for.

Alice Walker:

Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for.

Blaise Pascal:

Even those who write against fame wish for the fame of having written well, and those who read their works desire the fame of having read them.

David Ben Gurion:

Anyone who believes you can't change history has never tried to write his memoirs.

Denise Levertov:

One of the obligations of the writer is to say or sing all that he or she can, to deal with as much of the world as becomes possible to him or her in language.

E. B. White:

English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education -- sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street.

Elizabeth Drew:

The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.

F. Scott Fitzgerald:

There was never a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn't be. He is too many people if he's any good.

Flannery O'Conner:

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

Flannery O'Connor:

Everywhere I go, I'm asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.

Frances Hodgson Burnett:

I am writing in the garden. To write as one should of a garden one must write not outside it or merely somewhere near it, but in the garden.

Gloria Steinem:

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.

Gracián:

Good things, when short, are twice as good.

Harvey Cox:

All human beings have an innate need to hear and tell stories and to have a story to live by ... religion, whatever else it has done, has provided one of the main ways of meeting this abiding need.
The Seduction of the Spirit, 1973


Isaac Asimov:

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.

Jack Lynch:

Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over IBM versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi and boxers versus briefs.

Jessamyn West:

Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.

Kathryn Hughes:

Women do not always have to write about women, or gay men about gay men. Indeed, something good and new might happen if they did not.

Lavina Goodell:

Critics are by no means the end of the law. Do not think all is over with you because you articles are rejected. It may be that the editor has his drawer full, or that he does not know enough to appreciate you, or you have not gained a reputation, or he is not in a mood to be pleased. A critic's judgment is like that of any intelligent person. If he has experience, he is capable of judging whether a book will sell. That is all. junior editor, Harper's Bazaar, 1866

Lillian Hellman:

If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.

Logan Pearsall Smith:

Yes there is a meaning; at least for me, there is one thing that matters - to set a chime of words tinkling in the minds of a few fastidious people.

Lord Byron:

But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.

Manuel Puig:

What's better, a poetic intuition or an intellectual work? I think they complement each other.

Manuel Puig:

I allow my intuition to lead my path.

Mark Twain:

There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written -- it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself.

Mark Twain:

I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.

Mark Twain:

To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.

Oscar Wilde:

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.

Pearl S. Buck:

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.

Pearl S. Buck:

In a mood of faith and hope my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer and I take up my pen to write.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:

The reality is more excellent than the report.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Put the argument into a concrete shape, into an image, some hard phrase, round and solid as a ball, which they can see and handle and carry home with them, and the cause is half won.

Rita Mae Brown:

Writers will happen in the best of families.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

Poetry: the best words in the best order.

Sophocles:

A short saying often contains much wisdom.

Stephen King:

Fiction is the truth inside the lie.

T. S. Eliot:

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.

Thomas Jefferson:

Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider how it is spelled, and, if you do not remember, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well.
to his daughter Martha


Tom Clancy:

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

V. S. Naipaul:

I have trusted to my intuition to find the subjects, and I have written intuitively. I have an idea when I start, I have a shape; but I will fully understand what I have written only after some years.

V. S. Naipaul:

I have trusted to intuition. I did it at the beginning. I do it even now. I have no idea how things might turn out, where in my writing I might go next.

Virginia Woolf:

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf:

When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet. . . indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Willa Cather:

Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand -- a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods -- or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.

William Wordsworth:

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

Winston Churchill:

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

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