When I have a few bad writing days at a stretch, I look over at some quotes that inspire me to write again. They remind me of the magic of words and the rhythm of a narrative. The quotes bring me back to that part in me that feels most alive when I write.
1. “And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.”
J. K. Rowling
This for the sheer love for the act itself. Just the feel of being with a notebook and writing for only the sake of it. Creating only for the pleasure of it.
2. “For writing means revealing one self to excess; that utmost of self-revelation and surrender, in which a human being, when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself, and from which, therefore, he will always shrink as long as he is in his right mind…That is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why there can never be enough silence around one when one writes, why even night is not night enough.”
Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
This speaks to me so eloquently. When in solitude, I find that wringing out one’s soul needs an even deeper state of aloneness.
3. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
A classic case of show, don’t tell. Chekhov just told us how to do that and there is an immense delicacy in the act of showing.
4. “Always be a poet, even in prose.”
I always look for a cadence and a rhythm in prose. Not for me the mere arc of a story; a slice of life, beautifully expressed is enough.
5. “Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.”
When I write, I am mostly concerned with shaping a good sentence, a perfectly framed paragraph and a cogent narrative. And yet, I can recognise a unique voice and it is a priceless gift.
6. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
I have mused over this quote a hundred times and always come away nodding. Isn’t it the beauty of writing that it lets you bare your soul?
7. “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
Plenty of writers hear that accusation from others, of being drunk on words, on writing. And of being absorbed in make believe worlds. How can we tell them how euphoric it is?
8. “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.”
Yes. The inner music. The rhythm that we write to. The cadence that lends itself to our words.
9. “Writing is a very focused form of meditation. Just as good as sitting in a lotus position.”
Writing as meditation rejuvenates you. It brings you back from the lifeless into the vibrancy of being.
10.” great writers are indecent people
they live unfairly
saving the best part for paper.
good human beings save the world
so that bastards like me can keep creating art,
if you read this after I am dead
it means I made it.”
Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last
How can this list of quotes not feature Bukowski who sometimes mocks life itself and who remains a brutal realist long after his life ended.
Do any of these quotes speak to you? Please share the quotes that you feel inspired by.