Writers on Writing

“The Writer” from Fragonard, The Fantasy Figures at Washington’s National Gallery of Art. I always blog in a tunic like that.

A round-up of some quotes on writing (no certainty that these are all accurate). I found them nosing around the web looking for a Peter De Vries quip–always one of my favorites.

“Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.”
Jules Renard

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
Kurt Vonnegut

“I love being a writer, what I can’t stand is the paperwork.”
Peter De Vries

“If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
Isaac Asimov

“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.”
W. H. Auden

“I always write a good first line, but I have trouble in writing the others.”
Moliere

“The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.”
John Steinbeck

“Hard writing makes easy reading. Easy writing makes hard reading.”
William Zinsser

“You can fire your secretary, divorce your spouse, abandon your children. But they remain your co-authors forever.”
Ellen Goodman

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

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
E. L. Doctorow

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.”
Steven Wright

“Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.”
Don Marquis

“When you’re writing, you’re conjuring. It’s a ritual, and you need to be brave and respectful and sometimes get out of the way of whatever it is that you’re inviting into the room. ”
Tom Waits

“Novelists are no more moral or certain than anybody else; we are ideologically adrift, and if we are any good then our writing will live in several places at once. That is both our curse and our charm.”
Andrew O’Hagan

“If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average.”
Derek Walcott

“Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.”
Joan Didion

“Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing.”
Bernard Malamud

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”
Graham Greene

“I never attended a creative writing class in my life. I have a horror of them; most writers groups moonlight as support groups for the kind of people who think that writing is therapeutic. Writing is the exact opposite of therapy.”
Zadie Smith

“I’m never, I hope, stupid enough to believe that Twitter or blogging or any of this stuff is a substitute for actually doing the work of writing a book.”
Neil Gaiman

Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea.
Richard Ford

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