Quotes

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Quotes on Reading and Writing:

On Reading:

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” —Jorge Luis Borges

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” —Frederick Douglass

“Learning isn’t a means to an end; it’s an end to itself.” ~Robert A. Heinlein

“The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I [haven’t] read.” —Abraham Lincoln

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.” —Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

“Wear the old coat and buy the new book.” — Austin Phelps

“You may have tangible wealth untold. / Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. / Richer than I you can never be – / I had a mother who read to me.” — Strickland Gillilan

“The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can’t.” —Mark Twain

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

“Indeed, learning to write may be a part of learning to read. For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.” —Eudora Welty

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” –Walt Disney

On Writing:

“The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.” –Ray Bradbury

“Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing… the rest will follow.” — Jane Yolen

“This above all – ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: Must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.” –Rainer Maria Rilke (from Letters to a Young Poet)

“It is your duty to go on working steadily day by day, quite quietly, to be prepared for mistakes, which are inevitable, and for failures.” Tchekhov

“Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray.” –Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” –Albert Camus

“The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” -Mark Twain

“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say”. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” -Philip Roth

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”-Stephen King

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”—Ernest Hemingway

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”—Virginia Woolf

“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.” —Stephen King, WD

“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”—Peter Handke

“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”—Catherine Drinker Bowen

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”—Samuel Johnson

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”—Larry L. King

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.”—Allegra Goodman

“Style means the right word. The rest matters little.”—Jules Renard

“I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.”—Tom Clancy

“Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.”—Leigh Brackett, WD

“The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.”—Joyce Carol Oates

“Beware of advice—even this.”—Carl Sandburg

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”—Harper Lee

“I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that’s the job of art.”—Andre Dubus

“Geniuses can be scintillating and geniuses can be somber, but it’s that inescapable sorrowful depth that shines through—originality.”—Jack Kerouac

“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”—Ray Bradbury

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”—Ray Bradbury

“Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”—Robert A. Heinlein

“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.”—William Carlos Williams

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”—Elmore Leonard

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”—Henry David Thoreau

“Writers live twice.”—Natalie Goldberg

“Write drunk, edit sober.”- Ernest Hemingway

“Your life story would not make a good book. Don’t even try.” Annie Leibowitz

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

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

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” -Henry David Thoreau

“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” –Paolo Coelho

“Fiction was invented the day Jonas arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale.” –Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.” –Muriel Rukeyser

“If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.” –Anne Tyler

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ~James Michener

“I never learned from a man who agreed with me.” ~Robert A. Heinlein

“By cultivating the beautiful we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers, as by doing good we cultivate those that belong to humanity.” ~Robert A. Heinlein

“All of the good, weird stories I’ve written are based on things I’ve dredged out of my subconscious. That’s the real stuff. Everything else is fake.” ~Ray Bradbury

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.” ~Ray Bradbury

“I just act and react and emotionalize and all good stuff comes out. Nobody’s ever thought their way to anything in literature.” ~Ray Bradbury

“What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.” ~Logan Pearsall Smith

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~Toni Morrison

“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.” ~Sharon O’Brien

“Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” ~Mark Twain

“The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.” ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~William Wordsworth

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” ~Vladimir Nabakov

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~Anton Chekhov

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.” ~Orson Scott Card

“The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it.” ~Jules Renard

“When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. But if you have not a pen, I suppose you must scratch any way you can.” ~Samuel Lover

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” ~Isaac Asimov

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” ~Gene Fowler

“Writer’s block is a disease for which there is no cure, only respite.” ~Terri Guillemets

“When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.” ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela

“Publication – is the auction of the Mind of Man.” ~Emily Dickinson

“Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.” ~E.L. Doctorow

“Some authors write with a grave ink, of a dramatic pen dipped into their dark souls.” ~Terri Guillemets

“Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.” ~Author Unknown, commonly misattributed to Samuel Johnson

“It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.” ~Sinclair Lewis

“It’s not plagiarism – I’m recycling words, as any good environmentally conscious writer would do.” ~Uniek Swain

“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.” ~Franz Kafka

“If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don’t remove it – I might be writing in my dreams.” ~Terri Guillemets

“A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end… but not necessarily in that order.” ~Jean Luc Godard

“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” ~Thomas Mann

“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.” ~G.K. Chesterton

“Books want to be born: I never make them. They come to me and insist on being written, and on being such and such.” ~Samuel Butler

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” – Robert Frost

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