Fifty Writing Quotes

By Larry Hodges

  1. “If you stare at your computer screen long enough, eventually you’ll get bored and write something.”
  2. “Sometimes I think writing is the hardest thing in the world, and then I remember about rewriting.”
  3. “Inspiration is that little light bulb that goes off in your head after you’ve submitted your story.”
  4. “Adverbs are the building blocks to bad writing.”
  5. “A novel of a hundred thousand words begins with a single keystroke, followed by five hundred thousand more.”
  6. “A bad writer never goes hungry. He’s always eating his words.”
  7. “A trillion chimpanzees typing for a trillion years still couldn’t create the garbage in the slush pile.”
  8. “The more bad stuff you write, the more good stuff there is hidden in it.”
  9. “If you’re not famous, then the only way to get people to notice your writing is to write well.”
  10. “Typos and bad grammar are like shabby clothes. The story may be great, but few notice.”
  11. “Collaboration: a writer writes her story, and the editor rights her story.”
  12. “A page every day makes a novel someday.”
  13. “Writers never quit and quitters never write.”
  14. “Five steps to writing a novel: 1) Get 500 sheets of paper; 2) On page 1, write the title of your novel; 3) Just under the title write ‘by [your name]'; 4) On the last page write, ‘The End'; 5) Fill the pages in between with words.”
  15. “If you aren’t sure what to write about, just write; there’ll be plenty of time later on to read it and see what you wrote about.”
  16. “Writing is the act of combining letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into chapters, chapters into novels, and novels into filler at bookstores.”
  17. “Choose your words carefully because somewhere in there is a character who has to live with what you choose.”
  18. “All the editing and rewriting in the world can’t turn a blank sheet of paper into a story.”
  19. “A poorly written story is an epic transcribed poorly.”
  20. “‘Write what you know’ does not mean you should only write things you already know about; it means learn about things and then write about them.”
  21. “The difference between a story idea and a story is the difference between thinking about the universe and the universe itself.”
  22. “Only three things can create an entire universe: God, physics, and writers.”
  23. “A writer without imagination is like a musician endlessly playing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.'”
  24. “Why is writing so hard? Look in a plumber’s toolbox, a fisherman’s tackle box , or a lawyer’s briefcase. Count how many tools they have. Compare this to a writer, whose toolbox contains tens of thousands of words.”
  25. “The first rule of writing is there are no rules, only guidelines that you should learn well. The second rule of writing is follow rule one religiously.”
  26. “If, after many years of struggle, a writer finally perfects his writing skills, he obviously knows little about writing.”
  27. “Write as if every word you write is entered in a contest for ‘best word choice.'”
  28. “Try to avoid submitting nice stories written poorly or poor stories written nicely, as they clog up the slush piles.”
  29. “Good writing is contagious; you catch it by reading good writing.”
  30. “No one has ever written a successful novel while glued to the TV or playing videogames.”
  31. “Writing: the most efficient way to build up those Mr. Universe-like finger muscles.”
  32. “A well-written story that has nothing to say is not a well-written story.”
  33. “If the pen is mightier than the sword, then a writer with a computer connected to the Internet is mightier than a nuclear bomb.”
  34. “Learning to write well is 1% learning and 99% writing.”
  35. “The ten steps to writing: 1. write; 2. write; 3. write; 4. write; 5. write; 6. rewrite; 7. rewrite; 8. rewrite; 9. rewrite; 10. rewrite.”
  36. “If you write regularly, soon you’ll have a lot written. If you don’t, you won’t.”
  37. “The only thing more painful than writing is not writing.”
  38. “Outlining and rewriting are the buns and condiments, but writing is the meat.”
  39. “The key to writing is writing. If you do that, the writing takes care of itself.”
  40. “Writer’s Block: The amazing ability to stare down a computer.”
  41. “Rejected stories are just practice for future success. Some just need more practice than others.”
  42. “A decent story written is far better than a great one not written.”
  43. “When you hit writer’s block, hit it back and keep on writing.”
  44. “When things aren’t going well in your life, transfer your problems to your characters and let them solve the problems.”
  45. “If you absolutely cannot think of anything to write about, write about a character that cannot think of anything to do and the things that happen to him.”
  46. “Torture your characters. They can’t hit back.”
  47. “Write as if a reader is reading over your shoulder. Do not bore him.”
  48. “If, while writing a story, the story takes over and begins to write itself, let it.”
  49. “Overnight success often comes overnight, after years of working toward it.”
  50. “If you want to be the stereotypical misunderstood writer, write poorly.”

•••

larry1_sm_150x150Larry Hodges, of Germantown, MD, is an active member of SFWA with over 60 short story sales, over 50 of them since summer 2008. His story “The Awakening” was the unanimous grand prize winner at the 2010 Garden State Horror Writers Short Story Competition. His story “Rationalized” won the November 2011 Story Quest Competition. He’s a graduate of the six-week 2006 Odyssey Writers’ Workshop, the 2007 Orson Scott Card Literary Boot Camp, and the 2008 Taos Toolbox Writers’ Workshop. He’s a full-time writer with six books and over 1400 published articles in over 140 different publications. He writes about and coaches the Olympic Sport of Table Tennis, is a member of the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame (Google it!), and once beat someone using an ice cube as a racket. Visit him at www.larryhodges.org.

3 Responses

  1. James Kelly

    Mr. Hodges, I think you forgot one: “Writing is like…er…ah…nevermind, ’cause writing is like writing and you have to write to know what writing is like.”

  2. Pingback: Sunday Links, June 9, 2013 |

  3. Larry Hodges

    James, good point. I think your quote means that you learn to write by writing. I think that’s covered in a few of the quotes, in particular:
    #34: “Learning to write well is 1% learning and 99% writing.”
    #39: “The key to writing is writing. If you do that, the writing takes care of itself”;
    #41: “Rejected stories are just practice for future success. Some just need more practice than others.”
    #49: “Overnight success often comes overnight, after years of working toward it.”

    There’s been some discussion elsewhere of where I got these writing quotes. I came up with all of them all in one feverish night a few years ago. I put them aside, and periodically went back to them with minor rewrites. Then I saw the call for blog items by SFWA and sent them in.