Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My favorite writing quotes by Kaye Spencer

Because I love witty, thought-provoking quotes and clever sayings, today I'm sharing my favorite wordly tidbits on the topics of writing and being an author. My favorite quote is by author, Richard North Patterson. I keep this quote on my computer to read every time I sit down to type. Since it's my writing mantra, it has the honor of being first on the list.
Richard North Patterson
Writing is rewriting. A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, intensify scenes. To fall in love with a first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the
prospects of never publishing.

Mark Twain
Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.

Mark Twain
Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

Mark Twain
Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.

Mark Twain
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, c. 65 CE
Write quickly and you will never write well; write well, and you will soon write quickly.

Frank Yerby
It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn't advance the story.

Gene Fowler
Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.

Charlotte Bronte
I'm just going to write because I cannot help it.

Clarence Budington Kelland
I get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop.

Leo Rosten
Every writer is a narcissist. This does not mean that he is vain; it only means that he is hopelessly self-absorbed.

Robert Benchley
It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.

Stephen Wright
I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.

Mickey Spillane
The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book.

E. L. Doctorow
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

Harlan Ellison
Thank your readers and the critics who praise you, and then ignore them. Write for the most intelligent, wittiest, wisest audience in the universe: Write to please yourself.

Robert A. Heinlein
Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.

Rosemary Mahoney
Writing is not a genteel profession; it's quite nasty and tough and kind of dirty.

Eugene Ionesco
A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.

Stephen Leigh
You may be able to take a break from writing, but you won't be able to take a break from being a writer... 

Niyi Osundare
One hasn't become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating.

Rainer Maria Rilke
What is needed is, in the end, simply this: solitude, great inner solitude. Going into yourself and meeting no one for hours on end--that is what you must be able to attain.

Ernest Hemingway
The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.

Oscar Wilde
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

William Carlos Williams
I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.

George Orwell
Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.

Franz Kafka
A non-writing writer is a writer courting insanity.
Until next time,

Fall in love...faster, harder, deeper with Kaye Spencer romances
Twitter - @kayespencer

(Images: Creative Commons, Fotolia)


  1. Well, these quotes certainly sum up the insanity and obsession of writers. I especially like Kafka's quote about a writer who isn't writing, is courting insanity. It's true. When I'm not writing or mulling over a story idea in my head, I feel at loose ends with myself. It makes you wonder, were we born this way or did we contract some kind of sneaky writer virus?
    Loved all these quotes, Kaye.

    1. Sarah,

      It seems that I'm constantly on the ragged edge of writing insanity. For the past month, when I'd hoped to be working on my RPR Halloween story, I've had more darn 'life' interruptions, including the interruption of a year-long wait for a basement remodel that is getting under way as I write this. Talk about bad timing for me and writing. I can feel the insanity setting in. Heck, I haven't even taken the time to comment on anyone else's posts here in so long, it's shameful. [hanging head] Such is life, I guess. ;-)

  2. Kaye, I'm going to have to print this out and everytime I think I'm crazy for doing this I will realize I'm not alone. Of course you quoted my favorite home town (region) boy Mark Twain (Sam Clemens) so it has to be true. Loved Ionesco in college, Rilke is a favorite and met Ellison. Now that I think of it, I just was in denial about wanting to be a writer most of my life...better late than never, unless you count the poetry. (Grin) Doris

    1. Doris,

      I really like the Mark Twain quote about substituting 'damn' for very, then deleting it. It makes me smile every time I write the word very.

  3. I like the Marcus Fabius Quintilianus quote. Some day I will write quicker!! Yay. A great collection, Kaye. Thanks for sharing. I, too, collect quotes. I have a big folder full of them. In fact, I'm going to transfer some of yours into it. Sometimes a good quote hits the spot when nothing else can.

    1. Kristy,

      I collect quotes, cartoons, and funny sayings. I love throwing out movie lines at just the opportune moment, too. (enjoyed your post about the Navajo, by the way. I've been a bad blog commenter for a couple of weeks.) ;-)

    2. Kaye,
      My family is big on movie quotes also. We try to stump each other.

  4. Kaye, you're a crazy woman, you know that? :-D

    I love all of these quotes, but I think my favorite is Heinlein's: "Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards."

    Sound advice, if you ask me. ;-)

    Thanks for sharing these today. It never hurts to be reminded that we're not alone in our insanity. It also never hurts to laugh. :-)


    1. I should amend that last statement: It never hurts to laugh...unless you've just had abdominal surgery. Then it hurts to laugh. ;-)

    2. Kathleen >>> abdominal surgery <<< bwahahaha!

      I like that Heinlein quote, too, because sometimes I feel like I spend so much 'private time', that people probably wonder what I'm REALLY doing. lol

  5. Love all of them but my very favorite is the first... by Richard North Patterson. Thanks for sharing them, Kaye.

    1. Liette,

      I agree. While I've never read anything by Richard North Patterson, I sure like his quote.

  6. Kaye, I love all of these and I've lived all of these quotes! Thanks for sharing, it's good to be reminded others have gone before us on this wild and crazy ride.

  7. Kirsten,

    Writing is so rewarding, and so darn frustrating all at the same time. I can spend four hours trying to get a scene or description or bit of dialogue just right, and I'm giddy when it comes together. Then I realize I've spent four house on 250 words. 0_o

  8. Great post, Kaye. These are some quotes to remember (and CLING TO!) LOL

    1. Cheryl,

      ...and always wash your hands. lol

  9. That towel is *brilliant.*

    1. mmjustus,

      I do a lot of towel *biting* when I write. lol