Many people dream of penning their first novel, short story, or book of poetry, whether for their own satisfaction or with the ultimate goal of seeing it published. Getting started, however, can be overwhelming. So overwhelming, that many people never sit down to write at all.
A blank page is a daunting sight. Where to start? Who will ever want to read this? Am I any good? Thoughts like these can be a towering barrier to an aspiring writer — and many now-famous authors will freely admit to thinking the same when they first began to write. But the important thing is to start. Like any other pastime or profession, it takes time to become proficient. A new writer can’t expect perfection from the get-go. As Margaret Atwood once said, “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
Stories are important, both for the writer and the reader. “After nourishment, shelter, and companionship,” said Philip Pullman, “stories are the thing we need most in the world.” So for anyone struggling to sit down and write, here are some quotes from famous authors to motivate the scribe inside you.
There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.
― William Makepeace Thackeray
You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. It's just so easy to give up!
― Octavia E. Butler
If you have a limited amount of time to write, you just sit down and do it. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.
― Jodi Picoult
Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
— Henry Miller
You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page.
— Annie Proulx
Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade, just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.
— Truman Capote
The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.
― Terry Pratchett
Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
— Kurt Vonnegut
Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.
― Ray Bradbury
Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
— Barbara Kingsolver
Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.
— Meg Cabot
Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something — anything — down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft — you just get it down.
— Anne Lamott
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
— Louis L’Amour
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
— Sylvia Plath
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