Writing writ and wit 2.

In light of enthusiastic responses by many readers to the my initial posting of instructive and inspirational remarks by writers about writing, I’m impelled to share some more of my extensive collection, and, in time, all of it.

I’m aware, of course, that this could become boring for some, but surely not so boring as those self-adoring pictures of themselves that a small but seriously narcissistic selection of female Facebook members keep posting in their seemingly unslakeable lusts for more, more, and still more ‘likes’ and ‘loves’.

So here goes with the second of what may eventually be four or five lots of quotes for you to glance over. And I venture to guess that, even if you haven’t the slightest intention of writing or engaging in any other creative pursuit, you’ll find a great many of them emotionally or intellectually interesting.

Though perhaps not to the possibly pathological extent that I do. For years I’ve collected books of quotations, and read them over and over as if they were novels.

Which they are, I suppose, in the sense of ‘novelty’, in that for me there’s no more fascinating way to expose myself to a variety of new, at least to me, ideas, opinions and points-of-view on any and every aspect of life, and thus provide myself with ever-more food for thought.

But that’s enough from and about me for now. Having already bombarded you with dozens of writers’ and occasionally others’ stated reasons for why they write, here are some more on how to get started and keep going:



Analyse and imitate; no other school is necessary.

Raymond Chandler.


Read, read, read.  Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a good carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.

William Faulkner.


A good writer does not write as people write, but as he [or she]writes.

Charles Montesquieu.


There ain’t no rules around here!  We’re trying to accomplish something!

Thomas Edison.


Writing is easy.  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.

Gene Fowler.


Violent restlessness, and vague ideas of going I don’t know where….going round and round the idea….walking about the country by day – prowling about into the strangest places in London by night – sitting down to do an immensity – getting up after doing nothing…

Charles Dickens on beginning a new novel.


I am most drawn to writing when I have something else urgent to do.

Mason Cooley.


Writing’s hard work and it’s boring, but I like it.

V. S. Pritchett.


Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you’re absolutely right.

Henry Ford.


Everyone has talent.  What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.

Erica Jong.


I know I was writing stories when I was five.  I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.

S. J. Perelman.


Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

Edmund Burke.


The hand is the cutting-edge of the mind.

Jacob Bronowski.


Just do it.

Nike slogan.


Practice makes perfect.



The desire to write grows with writing.



I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paperwork.

Peter de Vries.


Writing is a dreadful Labour,yet not so dreadful as Idleness.

Thomas Carlyle.


We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.



Scott [Fitzgerald] took LITERATURE so solemnly. He never understood that it was just writing as well as you can and finishing what you start.

Ernest Hemingway.


Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Thomas Edison.


I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.

Peter De Vries.


If you are possessed by an idea, you find it expressed everywhere, you even smell it.

Thomas Mann.


Looking back I imagine I was always writing.  Twaddle it was too.  But better to write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.

Katherine Mansfield.


Planning to write is not writing.  Outlining a book is not writing.  Researching is not writing.  Talking to people about what you are doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.

E. L. Doctorow.


Write freely and rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.  Rewrite in progress is usually found to be an excuse for not going on.

John Steinbeck.


The faster I write the better my output.  If I’m going slow I’m in trouble.  It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.

Raymond Chandler.




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