I have to say, I have mixed feelings about all of the inspirational quotes for writers I’ve read over the years.
On one hand, I have fond memories of the meaningful phrases that have motivated me when I needed a little push to keep generating creative blog post ideas.
On the other hand … I’m a little skeptical and have some questions:
- Did that person actually say that?
- What was the context?
- Was that quote intended to inspire anyone?
It’s often difficult to verify the sources of quotations, so you have to first account for misattribution, as well as sentiments taken out of context. Putting any person or words on a pedestal can be a distraction.
Ultimately, professional writers have to take inspirational quotes with a grain of salt — extracting the benefits we project onto them without getting too wrapped up in their significance.
Then, you can create your own inspiration for content ideas by living like a writer and developing a filter that helps you critically examine everything around you.
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My 2 favorite inspirational quotes for writers
But since this post is about inspirational quotes for writers, I don’t want to act too uninterested, as if I don’t have favorite scribes whose work I enjoy and admire. 😉
So, before we get into the 50 offbeat selections about the craft of writing and business blogging I picked out for today, here are two quotes from two of my favorite writers.
“A writer or any artist can’t expect to be embraced by the people. I’ve done records where it seemed like no one listened to them. You write poetry books that maybe 50 people read. And you just keep doing your work because you have to, because it’s your calling.
“But it’s beautiful to be embraced by the people.
“Some people have said to me, ‘Well, don’t you think that kind of success spoils one as an artist? If you’re a punk rocker, you don’t want to have a hit record …’
“And I say to them, ‘$@#* you!’
“One does their work for the people. And the more people you can touch, the more wonderful it is. You don’t do your work and say, ‘I only want the cool people to read it.’ You want everyone to be transported, or hopefully inspired by it.
“When I was really young, William Burroughs told me, ‘Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises. Don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned with doing good work. And make the right choices and protect your work. And if you can build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.’”
– Patti Smith
“Nothing’s going too far. Whenever I get to the point where I think things are going too far, I know I have to go there.”
– Chuck Palahniuk
25 inspirational quotes for writers about craft
The inspirational quotes for writers below touch on the craft of writing, creativity, personal writing, and writing habits.
See which ones you resonate with the most as you continue learning how to become a freelance writer.
And when you have time to check it out, you might also like this article: What Is Writer’s Block?
“Writers don’t choose their craft; they need to write in order to face the world.”
– Alice Hoffman
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
– Stephen King
“It unfolds as you write it. That’s something I never believed before I wrote a book, but it does.”
– Joan Didion
“A writer should have this little voice inside of you saying, ‘Tell the truth. Reveal a few secrets here.’”
– Quentin Tarantino
“When you’re stuck, go back to your characters’ motivations.”
– David Mamet
“Just know that everyone’s writing is terrible. Until it’s not. No one’s stuff is right immediately. You gotta work it. Refine it. Shape it. Spend time with it. It’s a relationship. Between you and what comes from you. Not easy. Gonna be terrible before it’s not. And that’s okay.”
– Ava DuVernay
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.”
– Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle into that good night”
“My creative muse is wabi-sabi, a practice where inessentials are trimmed away or eliminated. The intersection where wabi (minimal) and sabi (functional) meet is the platform for my creativity: space and quiet solitude, simplicity.”
– Laurie Buchanan
“I’ve always felt that the more personal you get, the more universal the application, rather than the other way around. If you begin to address yourself to the masses like that, then I suppose you could have a hit, but to me the more accurate you get about your situation, then the more accessible it is to other people.”
– Leonard Cohen
“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
“There’s nothing to stop a man from writing unless that man stops himself. If a man truly desires to write, then he will. Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him.
“And the longer he is held back the stronger he will become, like a mass of rising water against a dam. There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with death.
“You will die a fighter, you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it, send it.”
– Charles Bukowski
“Address the people you seek, and them only.”
– Claude C. Hopkins
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
– Anton Chekhov
“I write one page of masterpiece to 91 pages of $@*#. I try to put the $@*# in the wastebasket.”
– Ernest Hemingway
“The difference between the ‘almost right’ word and the ‘right’ word is really a large matter … ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
– Mark Twain
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
– Anaïs Nin
“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”
– Blaise Pascal
“Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.”
– Flannery O’Connor
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
– Dorothy Parker
“I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.”
– Yohji Yamamoto
“Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.”
– Salman Rushdie
“Italics provide a wonderful advantage: you see, right away, that the words are in a rush. When something exists at a slant, you can’t help but consider irony.”
– Ann Beattie
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
– Haruki Murakami
“The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.”
– Leo Burnett
“I prefer to be on the side of losers, the misunderstood or lonely people rather than writing about the strong and powerful.”
– Núria Añó
25 inspirational quotes for writers about business
When it comes to copywriting, the craft of writing and the business of writing have a decent amount of overlap.
You’ll quickly see how the inspirational quotes for writers below about making a living online also heavily lean on your flexibility and creativity.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
– Karen Lamb
“Wonder what your customer really wants? Ask. Don’t tell.”
– Lisa Stone
“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”
– David Ogilvy
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
– Zig Ziglar
“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.”
– Oprah Winfrey
“Having spent too many years in show business, the one thing I see that succeeds is persistence. It’s the person who just ain’t gonna go home. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to go home. This is what I’ll be doing until they put me in jail or in a coffin.”
– David Mamet
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”
– Estée Lauder
“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.”
– Caterina Fake
“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.”
– Doris Lessing
“The very first thing you must come to realize is that you must become a ‘student of markets.’ Not products. Not techniques. Not copywriting. Not how to buy space or whatever.
“Now, of course, all of these things are important and you must learn about them, but, the first and the most important thing you must learn is what people want to buy.”
– Gary Halbert
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
– Toni Morrison
“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
– William Faulkner
“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”
– Blair Warren
“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.”
– Robert Benchley
“Most good copywriters fall into two categories. Poets. And killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers as a means to an end.”
– William Maynard
“If you are both killer and poet, you get rich.”
– David Ogilvy
“A business man is no different from any other kind.”
– Robert Collier
“I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.”
“Don’t take shortcuts. They take too long.”
– Sonia Simone
“I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.”
– Henry Rollins
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
– Michael Jordan
“I got lucky because I never gave up the search. Are you quitting too soon? Or, are you willing to pursue luck with a vengeance?”
– Jill Konrath
“A big reason so many businesses compete on price is because they can’t prove what value they offer, so they’re stuck with the one selling point that’s a breeze to communicate: cheapness.”
– Mish Slade
“If you have the attention of an audience, you’re already a leader. And great leaders plan, listen, observe, inspire, and then give direction.”
– Brian Clark
“Let’s get to the heart of the matter. The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy.
“Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears, and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.
“This is the copywriter’s task: not to create this mass desire — but to channel and direct it.”
– Eugene M. Schwartz
What are your favorite quotes?
We all have favorites.
And the concept of “favorites” has evolved to expand beyond the movies, TV shows, and books that we find the most enjoyable.
Now, we have our favorite content creators — the blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels we subscribe to, in order to regularly consume what they have to offer.
If you create your own content for your own platform, you want others to regard it as their favorite.
You want others to stay interested in your online business ideas, so that when they’re ready to make a purchase, they choose your product or service.
How do you make that happen? How do you get others to choose you?
- You have to transform great ideas into winning presentations.
- You have to offer a perspective your audience won’t find anywhere else.
- You have to evaluate your own work with a critical eye.
Put simply, you have to learn how to write better content.
In my Content Marketing Bootcamp within Copyblogger Academy, I show you how to harness the power of language to attract (and keep) more clients and customers.
In this 5-part course, you’ll learn in-depth techniques you’ll be able to put into practice right away.
With the right content, your audience can turn into an engaged group of individuals interested in buying your products or services.
Are you ready to walk away with the confidence to produce the type of writing that builds an audience?
Reader Comments (8)
Jan Jost says
I have two focus-oriented quotes taped to my monitor to help me avoid Bright Shiny Objects. The first is one I saw on a small desktop plaque maybe 35 years ago. It stuck in my heart as a good life rule to follow. No author was named. “Many things will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart. Pursue those.” The second is a simple question I took from a post I was reading by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. “What action will I take today to grow my blog?” I read a lot of helpful words–which can become BSOs in and of themselves–but these two gems help me keep the main thing the main thing. Thank you for this great compendium of quotes.
Stefanie Flaxman says
Thanks for sharing, Jan!
And I agree — helpful words can be Bright Shiny Objects in disguise.
We all suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome sometimes, and you’re implementing one of the top cures I’ve found for it — punchy reminders to stay focused on the top things that matter. 🙂
I really like your all Inspirational quotes, here I would like to share one of my favorite quote with you please, That is
“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!’”
Stefanie Flaxman says
So good selection of quotes!
I also would like to share one of my favourites:
“Everything you can imagine is real.”
― Pablo Picasso
Thanks for the great quotes! I especially love that you point out that attribution can be tricky to verify and should be taken with a grain of salt because that is so true. I once heard a quote by Stephen King and later read something by him where he mentioned the quote and that he didn’t know why he said it because it wasn’t true. He just felt put on the spot during an interview and said the first thing that popped into his head. It was a different quote from the one you have included in this list.
Stefanie Flaxman says
Great example, Alison! A well-known quote or author doesn’t necessarily equal wisdom. 😉
Jake Smith says
Great work Stefanie these are some good inspirational quotes mentioned here.
No disrespect but I would like to mention my personal favorite.
“The writer is by nature a dreamer – a conscious dreamer.”
― Carson McCullers
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