Twenty-five More Quotes About the Writing and Publishing Process

In recent weeks I have posted a bunch of quotes about words, writers, and writing. But there are so many that I had to return to this proverbial well once more. Following are twenty-five more quotes, mostly about the writing and publishing process, which have been sent to me by friends hither and yon (mostly yon).

  1. “Reading maketh a full man; and writing an exact man” (Francis Bacon).
  2. “It’s impossible to throw cold water on a dream birthed in the fire of God’s revelation” (Matthew Barnett).
  3. “You can make anything with writing” (C. S. Lewis).
  4. “I write for the same reason I breathe: Because if I didn’t, I would die” (Isaac Asimov).
  5. “I am a slow walker but I never walk backwards” (Abraham Lincoln).
  6. “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by” (Douglas Adams).
  7. “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell” (William Strunk, Jr.).
  8. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader” (Robert Frost).
  9. “The redemption story is the greatest story to tell. That’s what I think everyone hungers for, whether they know it or not” (Francine Rivers).
  10. “If I waited until I felt like writing I’d never write at all” (Anne Tyler).
  11. “Writing books involves endless hard work” (Ecclesiastes 12:12, The Jerusalem Bible).
  12. “Writing is a vocation; it’s not just a way to get published” (Eugene Peterson).
  13. “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).
  14. “The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write” (Unknown).
  15. “Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it” (Michael Crichton).
  16. “A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason” (Margaret Atwood).
  17. “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure” (Samuel Johnson).
  18. “Writing is a struggle between presence and absence” (Lu Ji).
  19. “The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense” (Tom Clancy).
  20. “Writing is like hunting. There are brutally cold afternoons with nothing in sight, only the wind and your breaking heart. Then the moment when you bag something big. The entire process is beyond intoxicating” (Kate Braverman).
  21. “The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile” (Robert Cormier).
  22. “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon” ( L. Doctorow).
  23. “Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while” (David Eddings).
  24. “The demonic paradox of writing: when you put something down that happened, people often don’t believe it; whereas you can make up anything, and people assume it must have happened to you” (Andrew Holleran).
  25. “Half my life is an act of revision” (John Irving).


15 Responses to Twenty-five More Quotes About the Writing and Publishing Process

  1. Meg MacDonald May 2, 2018 at 5:38 am #

    Bob, I appreciate that so many of these touch on the necessity of revision. It is an essential skill that many writers neglect—and it shows. Even when I’ve been exact in my initial pass through a scene or chapter, I delight in the revision process.

  2. Sami A. Abrams May 2, 2018 at 6:30 am #

    I love number six! Thanks for the list.

  3. Shirlee Abbott May 2, 2018 at 6:58 am #

    “Start early and work hard.” If I’d started earlier, by now my writing would be more mature and me less. Maybe it was worth the wait.

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser May 2, 2018 at 6:59 am #

    Nice collection, Bob!

    Ran across this one the other day, don’t recall who coined it:

    “To make each word count, use your own blood as ink.”

  5. Shirley Buxton May 2, 2018 at 6:59 am #

    Yes. Twenty-five times.
    Thank you.

  6. Kimberly Joy May 2, 2018 at 7:24 am #

    Recently, I’ve claimed the words of Proverbs 25:11 as I write. “A word fitly spoken (or written, in our case) is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

    I love that is says “word,” not “words.” Sometimes less is more.

    Thanks for the fun list!

  7. Katie Powner May 2, 2018 at 7:28 am #

    Love that #2. God’s fire consumed all the water on Mt. Carmel after all.

  8. Rebekah Millet May 2, 2018 at 8:23 am #

    Good thing I’m not a brain surgeon.

  9. Mary Albers Felkins May 2, 2018 at 10:08 am #

    These are striking. Great compilation. The quote about “Writing is easy…” got my attention. Then I continued on to the end with reference to the drops of blood that must form on the forehead. Yeah that.

  10. Norma Brumbaugh May 2, 2018 at 10:39 am #

    So good were these quotes.. my emotions fluctuated as I read them. Writing is a gift, but it is so much more. These statements catch the essence of the writer’s journey (and the reader’s benefit). I enjoyed reading them. This eclectic mix says it well.

  11. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D May 2, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

    Outstanding, Bob! Some of the quotes made me smile. Some made me laugh out loud. Some made me want to cry. A million words? Really?

  12. HEATHER FITZGERALD May 2, 2018 at 3:45 pm #

    These are great! Meme making shall now commence 🙂

  13. Heather FitzGerald May 2, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

    Great inspiration! Let the meme making commence!

  14. Heather FitzGerald May 2, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

    Well, forgive all these extra comments. I got an error message on my first try but I guess it went through!

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