A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Welcome to our first group post of 2015! Today, we’re sharing our favourite inspirational quotes about writing.
This one is for every hopeful author faced with a dreaded standard rejection. You are not alone. Even the great Snoopy of the Peanuts cartoons, has been through this. In his innocence, he even commits the sin of replying to one.
Regarding the recent rejection slip you sent me. I think there might have been a misunderstanding. What I really wanted was for you to publish my story and send me fifty thousand dollars. Didn’t you realize that?
“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius
There’s a quote that I came across from Madeleine L’Engle who wrote one of my favourite books – ‘A Wrinkle In Time.’
She said, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
I think that sums up the kind of book that I would like to write. I don’t know if I’ve come close to achieving it yet, but this quote pushes me towards it.
The other writing quote that is in my mind at the moment is from Douglas Adams. “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Seeing as one of those whooshed past me yesterday I really should get back to work…
“If you don’t like someone’s story, you write your own.” – Chinua Achebe
Sometimes, when I’m getting bogged down, rising in the early hours to tear my hair out and stress about a book not doing what it should, I have a few quotes I try to remember. One of my favourites is:
‘You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.’ by the brilliant and prolific Jack London.
And I have a couple of other quotes for such situations:
‘What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.’ – Samuel Johnson.
‘The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.’ – Pablo Picasso.
‘I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.’ – Oscar Wilde (of course).
My favourite inspirational quote is “You can’t edit a blank page.” I’m not sure who said it first, but it’s often attributed to Jodi Picoult. I often remind myself of it when I get daunted by first drafts.
‘Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so’ from ‘Hamlet’.
“In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.” – Stephen King: Writing and the art of Creative Sleep
“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations” – Ray Bradbury
“Creativity IS mistakes.” – Grayson Perry
One of my most favourite inspirational writing quotes is from Shannon Hale, about first drafts: “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” I just think that’s a fantastic way to look at it!
“You never learn how to write a novel. You just learn how to write the novel that you’re writing.” – Gene Wolfe
I’m a humungous Terry Pratchett fan … he seems to find the truth at the bottom of everything…
“If you trust in yourself… and believe in your dreams… and follow your star… you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.”
“Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.”
“Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”
“A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.” – Stephen King
I love this one:
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” – Terry Pratchett
This is a quote about poetry, but I think it applies to novels, too:
“A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” – Paul Valéry
What are your favourite inspirational writing quotes?