Best quotes about writing (and other things)

You might fall in love with these quotes as much as I have. This post is updated reasonably often; join the mailing list for updates.

Hi there. You know, I fall deeply in love with writers more for their commentary than their works.

You might fall in love with them too. This is a living post, which changes occasionally, as I find and collect more commentary.

~ Leticia
last updated 4 Dec 2019

“I don’t know the mechanics of doing and I do not want to waste a lot of words doing everything backwards that some sycophant will twist and turn to his own use. I thought the Art world and things like that would be clean. That’s shit. There are more evil and unscrupulous octopus people in the Art world than you’ll find in any business house because in a business house the guy’s minnow imagination is just on getting a bigger house and a bigger car and an extra whore but usually the drive does not come from some twisted inside that cries for RECOGNITION OF SELF beyond all decency and straightness, no matter how it’s gotten. That’s why some of these editors are such damn buggers: they can’t carve it themselves so they try to associate themselves with those who hack and carve at a little clean marble … that’s why a lot of them won’t answer letters of inquiry about submitted work: all the lights within them have fucked themselves to pieces and out.”

Source: Charles Bukowski, in On Writing. It refers to submitting a whole lot of cartoons, getting a ‘no we didn’t get anything like that’ from the editor, then spotting his work in a bunch of rags, including the front cover of the New Yorker.

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
― Ray Bradbury

“… write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

Source: Stephen King, in On Writing. It refers to writing for yourself the first time, and writing for others the second time.

“If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but ‘didn’t have time to read,’ I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Source: Stephen King, in On Writing. The hard truth is that if you don’t read, you can’t write. Reading is the ultimate training.

“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
― Ray Bradbury

‘One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later pace in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

‘After Michelangelo died, someone found in his studio a piece of paper on which he had written a note to his apprentice, in the handwriting of his old age: “Draw, Antonio, draw, Antonio, draw and do not waste time.” ‘

Source: Annie Dillard, in The Writing Life. Dillard is the breath in my body when my writing begins to flag. I first discovered this book a prolific 20-something, and her words are still like oxygen to me.

‘A man can write a story about fucking or even lousy women without being a woman-hater. The sisters must realize that limitations on certain forms of writing will eventually lead to control and limitation of all forms of writing except that chosen by some sanctioned body. A writer must be allowed to touch upon everything. […] Creation can’t bear up under restrictions. Tell the sisters to keep their panties kool. we all need each other.’

Source: Charles Bukowski, On Writing. Written in 1970, yet somehow even more apt today.

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