A Writer’s Life

Writers differ in their views on almost anything related to the art and craft of writing. From the aspects of the trade to being a writer, and then of course the writer’s life as a storyteller. Here are some excerpts by some successful and famous writers that I keep glued to the wall opposite my desk for inspiration, and which I would like to share with you. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do.

“I think you must remember that a writer is a simple-minded person to begin with and go on that basis. He’s not a great mind, he’s not a great thinker, he’s not a great philosopher, he’s a storyteller.” Erskine Caldwell

“The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.” Anais Nin

“Writers are self-indulgent, full of self-pity, forever seeking reassurance, constantly occupied with what they consider the proper conditions of work, and the next thing to invalids in their demands upon life.” Delmore Schwartz

“Writers are interesting people, but often mean and petty.” Lilian Hellman

“Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.” Gustav Flaubert

“Writing’s not terrible, it’s wonderful. I keep my own hours, do what I please. When I want to travel, I can. But mainly I’m doing what I most wanted to do all my life. I’m not into the agonies of creation.” Raymond Carver

“Writing is so much damned fun. I play God. I feel like a kid at Christmas. I make people do what I want, and I change things as I go along.” Tom Clancy

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

“You shouldn’t pay very much attention to anything writers say. They don’t know why they do what they do. They’re like good tennis players or good painters, who are just full of nonsense, pompous and embarrassing, or merely mistaken, when they open their mouths.” John Barth

“A writer is always admired most, not by those who have read him, but by those who have merely heard about him.” H.L.

“Suffering is the main condition of the artistic experience.” Samuel Beckett

“Enduring fame is promised only to those writers who can offer to successive generations a substance constantly renewed; for every generation arrives upon the scene with its own particular hunger.” Andre Gide

“I find writing very nervous work. I’m always in a dither when starting a novel- that’s the worst time. It’s like going to the dentist, because you do make a kind of appointment with yourself.” Kingsley Amis

“I’m profoundly uncertain about how to write. I know what I love or what I like, because it’s a direct, passionate response. But when I write I’m very uncertain whether it’s good enough. That is, of course, the writer’s agony.” Susan Sontag

“Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter.” William Styron

“For several days after my first book was published I carried it about in my pocket, and took surreptitious peeps at it to make sure the ink had not faded.” James M. Barrie

“When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation.” Jorge Luis Borges

“When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.” Hilaire Belloc


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9 Responses to A Writer’s Life

  1. liamodell1 says:

    What very interesting quotes! I always like tips from writers, they always motivate me to write!

  2. markharwoodwriter says:

    I’m partial to the Stephen King quote, “I have the heart of a small boy…and I keep it in a jar on my desk,” but I suppose that’s not nearly as inspirational as these. Thanks.

  3. These are great inspirations…we all feel uninspired at times and to read quotes from the greats really helps. I try hard to support, encourage and promote fellow authors through social media – helping to expand our community.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. These quotes are wonderful. It is always fascinating to read about another writer’s perspective on the act of writing. 🙂

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