Quotes About Writing

Writing an encyclopedia is hard. To do anywhere near a decent job, you have to know a great deal of information about an incredibly wide variety of subjects. Writing so much text is difficult, but doing all the background research seems impossible.

— Aaron Swartz

Things I used to get in trouble for writing at ‘SNL,’ suddenly other people like it.

— Adam McKay

When you’re writing for a show, you’re writing part of the script. You have to tell the story.

— Adam Schlesinger

I think in most cases, when you’re writing a song, you’re just making up a little story, and you’re not really thinking about making a point one way or another about it. You’re just coming up with a little scenario and seeing it through, and that’s it.

— Adam Schlesinger

I always have to be thinking about who’s going to be singing this song, what the context is. I don’t sit around just writing in a vacuum, ever.

— Adam Schlesinger

With writing, I can express myself, really, and share my ideas and just let my thoughts flow out.

— Adora Svitak

I intentionally approached each story in ‘Killing and Dying’ in a different way, and that includes the writing process.

— Adrian Tomine

I can’t complain that I’ve had a public all through my writing life, but people don’t quite know what I’ve written. People don’t read you too closely. Perhaps, after I’ve died, they’ll look at my stuff, and read it through, and find there’s more in it. That may be wrong, but that’s what I comfort myself with.

— Alan Bennett

I started out when I was 29 – too young to write novels. I was broke. I was on unemployment insurance. I was supposed to be writing a Ph.D. dissertation, so I had a typewriter and a lot of paper.

— Alan Furst

I started writing in my 20s. I just wanted to write, but I didn’t have anything to write about, so in the beginning, I wrote entertainments – mainly murder mysteries.

— Alan Furst

I’ve evolved in my writing to tell a more emotional story – my publisher, Random House, has urged that.

— Alan Furst

I never got any training in how to write novels as an English major at Oberlin, but I got some great training for writing novels from anthropology and from Margaret Mead.

— Alan Furst

You know, I became a director out of necessity. I was writing comedies, and I couldn’t find anybody to deliver it correctly.

— Albert Brooks

In the course of my movies, the financing and the releasing were always the tough part. Because I loved the creative I loved the writing. I loved the making of it. Because, I guess, I never had the giant blockbuster, I never got that sort of ease for the next one.

— Albert Brooks

In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it.

— Alex Haley

I guess if you want me to stop writing horrible, mean takedowns of everyone, give me a really, really cushy columnist gig.

— Alex Pareene

Conservatives don’t want to read good, smart books. They mostly want to read Fox and talk radio hosts writing about presidents.

— Alex Pareene

Sometimes, writing songs is like waiting in for deliveries. They give you a window, and your washing machine is going to show up, whether the window is the album or something you’re thinking, like, ‘This thing is going to come to me.’

— Alex Turner

There’s something to be said for writing in the morning. At other points in the day, you’re a bit more defensive.

— Alex Turner

You don’t meet that many people that you can talk about Roots Manuva with, but that was my favorite in school, this record of his called ‘Run Come Save Me.’ When I first started writing lyrics, it came from that.

— Alex Turner

At first, teaching was more or less a straightforward way of making a living and having access to institutional resources while writing – aka libraries. And that was not inconsiderable. But it didn’t in any way touch the writing. Maybe it would push the writing aside sometimes, but mostly it was fine.

— Alexander Chee

I’m a novelist. I’m not a crusader, and I’m not an editorial writer. And I’m not writing fiction to convince anybody of anything.

— Alice McDermott

No one looks at a baby and says, ‘You are going to be a great novelist, and you really need to start writing now.’ Something in us says: ‘This is what I must do.’

— Alice McDermott

I’ve often made revisions at that stage that turned out to be mistakes because I wasn’t really in the rhythm of the story anymore. I see a little bit of writing that doesn’t seem to be doing as much work as it should be doing, and right at the end, I will sort of rev it up. But when I finally read the story again, it seems a bit obtrusive.

— Alice Munro

People are more aware now of cities and of different ways of life. I suppose the writing I do is a bit in the past, and I’m not sure it’s the kind of writing I would do if I were starting now.

— Alice Munro

While working on my first five books, I kept wishing I was writing a novel. I thought until you wrote a novel, you weren’t taken seriously as a writer. It used to trouble me a lot, but nothing troubles me now, and besides, there has been a change. I think short stories are taken more seriously now than they were.

— Alice Munro

I was a housewife, so I learned to write in times off, and I don’t think I ever gave it up, though there were times when I was very discouraged because I began to see that the stories I was writing were not very good, that I had a lot to learn, and that it was a much, much harder job than I had expected.

— Alice Munro

In many ways, I’ve been writing personal stories all my life.

— Alice Munro

I never start out with any kind of connecting theme or plan. Everything just falls the way it falls. I don’t ever think about what kind of fiction I write or what I am writing about or what I am trying to write about. When I’m writing, what I do is I think about a story that I want to tell.

— Alice Munro

Writers are always writing about infidelity. It’s so dramatic. The wickedness of it, the secrecy, the complications, the finding that you thought you were one person but you’re also this other person. The innocent life and the guilty life. My God, it’s just full of stuff for a writer. I doubt it will ever go out of fashion.

— Alice Munro

Charlotte Bronte was writing about sex. I supposed Jane Austen was, too. Where do you get a hero like Darcy unless you are writing about sex?

— Alice Munro

It is not about writing those hits again. I am sure I could write them, but it is about the sensibilities.

— Alison Moyet

I try to not go, ‘I’m writing a pop song.’ Music is inherently genre-bending.

— Andra Day

I don’t enjoy writing newspaper articles any more than people like reading them. I’m a standup comic, not a journalist, although sometimes onstage I will say: ‘What else is in the news?’ Writing is work, which I’m not comfortable with.

— Andy Kindler

I’m a natural clown, I suppose, in writing, and one has to accept that I can’t do anything about it. I have written one or two novels which are not specifically funny. I wrote a study of Shakespeare which was not intended to be funny, but some people regard it as such.

— Anthony Burgess

A blend of fact and fiction has been used in various forms since the dawn of creative writing, starting with sagas and epic poems.

— Antony Beevor

Occasionally I find a travel book that is both illuminating and entertaining, where vivid writing and research replace self-indulgence and sloppy prose.

— Arthur Smith

After writing each novel, I would spend days poring over suggestions from my editor.

— Ashwin Sanghi

Unlike a typical professional, I can’t quit my job to become a full-time author I don’t have that luxury. For me, writing is therapy if I choose to write full-time, it might start feeling like work.

— Ashwin Sanghi

Our country has the oldest tradition of storytelling, and this was much before writing stories even became a norm.

— Ashwin Sanghi

I was a businessman for 16 years of my life, so when I started writing, I wanted to keep my literary identity separate.

— Ashwin Sanghi

There are three things I look for in a story – it has to be a thriller I cannot see myself writing literary fiction or a saga! There has to be a historical connection otherwise, the adrenalin will not flow. And I will try to bridge the gap between ‘Rozabal’ and ‘Chanakya’.

— Ashwin Sanghi

The average human attention span was 12 seconds in 2000 and 8 seconds in 2013. A drop of 33%. The scary part is that the attention span of a goldfish was 9 seconds, almost 13% more than us humans. That’s why it’s getting tougher by the day to get people to turn the page. Maybe we writers ought to try writing for goldfish!

— Ashwin Sanghi

That freedom of writing you don’t get in other formats, I’d rather leave it to someone else to deal with the headache of drafting my book into a screenplay.

— Ashwin Sanghi

Writing was my route to creative expression, and I needed to write about the things that interested me.

— Ashwin Sanghi

I want my writing to reach people. I don’t write for a market. I write from my heart, something that appeals to me. The marketing, segmenting etc., can be done by your publisher, not you.

— Ashwin Sanghi

After preliminary research, I zero in on an idea, and then I spend at least four months exploring the topic and in plot-building. I jot down every single detail of the plot as bullet points per chapter, and only when the skeleton is complete do I start writing.

— Ashwin Sanghi

Writing is possibly an art, but crime writing is definitely a craft.

— Ashwin Sanghi

Writers don’t write writing, they write reading. When I was a kid, I read four or five books a week. And that is how I became a writer.

— Avi

The demand in India is to have a hit, which becomes a promotion for the movie and makes people come to the theater. You have five songs and different promotions based on those. But when I do Western films, the need for originality is greater. Then I become very conscious about the writing.

— A. R. Rahman

I’ve never written anything that I haven’t wanted to write again. I want to, and still am, writing ‘A Few Good Men’ again. I didn’t know what I was doing then, and I’m still trying to get it right. I would write ‘The Social Network’ again if they would let me, I’d write ‘Moneyball’ again. I would write ‘The West Wing’ again.

— Aaron Sorkin

Well, I must tell you I write the scripts very close to the bone. So I’m writing episode seven now and couldn’t tell you what happens in episode eight.

— Aaron Sorkin

If I am writing a movie and I am stuck, I can call the studio and tell them it’s delayed. You can’t do that with television – you have air dates to meet.

— Aaron Sorkin

When I wrote ‘The West Wing,’ the juice behind it was that in popular culture, our leaders in government are generally portrayed as Machiavellian, or as idiots. I thought, well, how about writing about a group of hyper-competent people?

— Aaron Sorkin

I like writing idealistically, romantically and swashbucklingly.

— Aaron Sorkin

The rules are all in a sixty-four-page pamphlet by Aristotle called ‘Poetics.’ It was written almost three thousand years ago, but I promise you, if something is wrong with what you’re writing, you’ve probably broken one of Aristotle’s rules.

— Aaron Sorkin

Everything can be going well, but if I’m not writing, I’m not happy. When I’m writing well, I’m like a different person.

— Aaron Sorkin

When I create a TV show, it’s so that I can write it. I’m not an empire builder my writing staff is usually a combination of two kinds of people – experts in the world the show is set in, and young writers who will not be unhappy if they’re not writing scripts.

— Aaron Sorkin

My writing flows out of my doctorhood. They are not separate things. They are one. I think the foremost connection between being a doctor and being a writer is the great privilege of having an intimate view of one’s fellow humans, the privilege of being there and helping other people at their most vulnerable moments.

— Abraham Verghese

Medicine may be the lens through which I see the world, but since I think of medicine as ‘life +’, a place where life is exaggerated and seen at its most vital and poignant, I’ll be writing about life more than I will be writing about medicine.

— Abraham Verghese

I’ve started getting acclimated to writing on the road and on the spot. I just let whatever I feel at the time come out, instead of really sitting there and taking days to write just one song.

— Action Bronson

I actually run a non-profit where one of the main objectives is to branch out and get a new audience for the theater. Just because the writing is so good and nothing is more effective than seeing something live and happening right in front of your face, so I definitely want to continue to pursue that.

— Adam Driver

My only close-to-game-plan is to follow good writing. If the writing is in TV or if it’s in theater or in film, that’s it. It doesn’t really matter what the medium is.

— Adam Driver

Heartbreak can definitely give you a deeper sensibility for writing songs. I drew on a lot of heartbreak when I was writing my first album, I didn’t mean to but I just did.

— Adele

The way I write my songs is that I have to believe what I’m writing about, and that’s why they always end up being so personal – because the kind of artists I like, they convince me, they totally win me over straight away in that thing. Like, ‘Oh my God, this song is totally about me.’

— Adele

I don’t really need to stand out, there’s room for everyone. Although I haven’t built a niche yet, I’m just writing love songs.

— Adele

I am never writing a breakup record again, by the way. I’m done with being a bitter witch.

— Adele

I started out being a stand up and writing my own material. That took me to ‘Talk Soup,’ where I was writing and performing for TV.

— Aisha Tyler

When I first started writing for television in the seventies and eighties, the Internet didn’t exist, and we didn’t need to worry about foreign websites illegally distributing the latest TV shows and blockbuster movies online.

— Al Franken

I don’t consider myself an artist necessarily, but craftsmen or people in the arts, their spiritualism is sort of when you’re writing well or performing well or doing whatever you do well, there’s an element of that that’s either God-given, a talent that you’re not necessarily responsible for.

— Al Franken

What I always wanted to get seen as was as a good actor, when it was the acting I was doing. When I’m writing, I want to try to be seen as a good writer.

— Alan Alda

Achingly funny as it was, Larry Gelbart’s writing gave off sparks that turned a hard light on the way we are.

— Alan Alda

I was uncomfortable writing fiction. My love was the personal essay, rather than the novel.

— Alain de Botton

My writing always came out of a very personal place, out of an attempt to stay sane.

— Alain de Botton

I know a lot about writing, but I don’t know much about how other industries work. I’ve tried to use my naivety to my advantage.

— Alain de Botton

When I’m writing, I write all day. Other days, I sit around thinking. Or I run around from one meeting to another, out in the world. It varies, and I like that.

— Alain de Botton

I really was a fan of his and always have been – his writing especially, you know? I think people a lot of times overlook that part, because he kind of got into that party character so heavy.

— Alan Jackson

The one thing with writing stories about the rise of fascism is that if you wait long enough, you’ll almost certainly be proved right. Fascism is like a hydra – you can cut off its head in the Germany of the ’30s and ’40s, but it’ll still turn up on your back doorstep in a slightly altered guise.

— Alan Moore

I’m dependent on writing for a living, so really it’s to my advantage to understand how the creative process works. One of the problems is, when you start to do that, in effect you’re going to have to step off the edge of science and rationality.

— Alan Moore

When I started writing comics, ‘comics writer’ was the most obscure job in the world! If I wanted to be a celebrity, I would have become a moody English screen actor.

— Alan Moore

I suppose with any good writing and interesting characters, you can have that awfully overused word: a journey.

— Alan Rickman

When I start writing songs and it turns into an overly belabored intellectual process, I just throw it out.

— Alanis Morissette

I started playing piano when I was 6. And I knew that wanted to be involved in that form of expression, whether it was through music, or acting, or dancing, or painting, or writing.

— Alanis Morissette

I’ll be writing records until I’m dead, whether people like it or not!

— Alanis Morissette

I’m clearly most well known for my music. Eventually, ultimately, I’ll be writing books. I’m still writing articles now. I just consider myself a writer.

— Alanis Morissette

At school, a careers adviser asked me what I wanted to be, and I said ‘fashion journalist,’ so writing for ‘Vogue’ has provided me with the opportunity to fulfill a dream.

— Alexa Chung

I did TV for a bit, and somewhere along the line, I started writing a column for ‘The Independent’ newspaper in England, and now I write features for ‘British Vogue.’

— Alexa Chung

I used to have a voice because I was interviewing people and writing, but as soon as I got swept up in the fashion world, I was just a pretty girl at a party wearing a pretty dress.

— Alexa Chung

I respect people that find writing easy, because I have focus problems. I’ll spend five days eating cereal and YouTubing and two hours writing the article.

— Alexa Chung

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.

— Alexander Pope

For me writing biographies is impossible, unless they are brief and concise, and these are, I feel, the most eloquent.

— Alfred Nobel

For me, writing has always come out of living a fairly to-the-bone kind of life, just really being present to a lot of life. The writing has been really a byproduct of that.

— Alice Walker

I was brought up to try to see what was wrong and right it. Since I am a writer, writing is how I right it.

— Alice Walker

At Sarah Lawrence, I realized that everybody was already what they were going to be. The painters were painting, the writers writing, the dancers dancing. And nobody wore any makeup. The art was uppermost.

— Alice Walker

When I was first learning songs, I’d have a favorite song, and I’d take the chords and twist them around. I’d learn the chords and then play them backward. That was my first experimenting with writing a song.

— Alicia Keys

I feel confident writing on my feet with improv, but it’s different when you’re sitting down and writing it out.

— Amy Sedaris

My writing often contains souvenirs of the day – a song I heard, a bird I saw – which I then put into the novel.

— Amy Tan

Having listened to great songwriters like James Taylor and Carole King, I felt there was nothing new that was coming out that really represented me and the way I felt. So I started writing my own stuff.

— Amy Winehouse

The church wasn’t an organization in the first century. They weren’t writing checks or buying property. The church has matured and developed over the years. But for some reason, the last thing to change is the structure of leadership.

— Andy Stanley

Now I’m kind of established as a director, I much prefer directing to writing.

— Ang Lee

Really good writing, from my perspective, runs a lot like a visual on the screen. You need to create that kind of detail and have credibility with the reader, so the reader knows that you were really there, that you really experienced it, that you know the details. That comes out of seeing.

— Ann Voskamp

It’s a lot easier to act when the writing is good. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to figure out ‘Well, why did I say this next?’

— Anna Kendrick

If I haven’t any talent for writing books or newspaper articles, well, then I can always write for myself.

— Anne Frank

I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it.

— Annie Dillard

When I was writing ‘Kitchen Confidential,’ I was in my 40s, I had never paid rent on time, I was 10 years behind on my taxes, I had never owned my own furniture or a car.

— Anthony Bourdain

In college, I think I probably positioned myself as an aspiring writer, meaning I dressed sort of extravagantly and adopted all the semi-Byronic affectations, as if I were writing, although I wasn’t actually doing any writing.

— Anthony Bourdain

I get caught up in my bubble of reading, writing, or music.

— Antonio Banderas

The writing is important, but the way you say the line and the pause you give it, the facial expression – all of that is very important.

— Arnold Schwarzenegger

I think people ease into this careerist professionalism, so if you’re a writer it’s your job to manufacture books as opposed to writing them and to go to festivals and spend your life emotionally invested in reviews or the awards. You have to shrink your universe in a way. To me, it’s the opposite.

— Arundhati Roy

George Orwell is a pinnacle writer, for his combination of moral insight and literary writing.

— Atul Gawande

No one looks at your hands to see how much they shake when you are interviewed to be a surgeon. The physical skills required are no greater than for writing cursive script. If an operation requires so much skill only a few surgeons can do it, you modify the operation to make it simpler.

— Atul Gawande

If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, my patients will not even be postponed. Another surgeon would step in and take over. The reason to do research and writing is that it at least makes me feel not entirely replaceable. If I didn’t write, I don’t know if I would do surgery.

— Atul Gawande

I don’t write particularly to effect social change. I believe writing can do that, but that’s not why I write.

— August Wilson

Scripts were rather scarce in 1968. We did a lot of Amiri Baraka’s plays, the agitprop stuff he was writing. It was at a time when black student organizations were active on the campuses, so we were invited to the colleges around Pittsburgh and Ohio, and even as far away as Jackson, Mississippi.

— August Wilson

It’s a terrible poison, writing.

— A. S. Byatt

The more research you do, the more at ease you are in the world you’re writing about. It doesn’t encumber you, it makes you free.

— A. S. Byatt

I have never been able to read Agatha Christie – the pleasure is purely in the puzzle, and the reader is toyed with by someone who didn’t decide herself who the killer was until the end of the writing.

— A. S. Byatt

I did a lot of my writing as though I was an academic, doing some piece of research as perfectly as possible.

— A. S. Byatt

I don’t understand why, in my work, writing is always so dangerous. It’s very destructive. People who write books are destroyers.

— A. S. Byatt

I got into DJing and making beats when I was about 17. I was always fascinated by the four elements of hip-hop: you know, writing, rhyming, breakdancing and graffiti.

— Abbie Cornish

For me, most of the anxiety and difficulty of writing takes place in the act of not writing. It’s the procrastination, the thinking about writing that’s difficult.

— Adam Mansbach

When I’m writing, I’m in an isolation chamber. I’m not one to think about that outside world stuff when I’m writing.

— Adam Mansbach

I realised that the only time I really enjoyed music was when I was in the studio writing. So even though it was a six album deal, they saw quite early on that I wasn’t enjoying it as I should be. I didn’t feel there was anything behind it.

— Adam Rickitt

Writers do well to carefully attend to those moments of inspiration, because chances are that they’re writing from a very deep place. The subsequent search that ensues to continually attend to that voice that you hear is what is going to give the story drive.

— Adam Ross

In a crazy way, writing is a lot like any kind of very complex game – like chess, where you have the knowledge as you’re composing all of the ramifications of each move, of each choice you make.

— Adam Ross

We expect to keep our writing sessions going until late spring, then to play some new material in a few secret club dates. The record will likely take a long time and may not surface until 1999!

— Adrian Belew

I find writing a book a slow, intricate process, a kind of obstacle course punctuated with great rewards. But research is always thrilling, and I tend to incorporate newfound material up to the very last minute.

— Adrienne Mayor

Before I began concentrating on writing, in my free time I was an artist, making and selling etchings illustrating stories based on my readings in classical literature.

— Adrienne Mayor

I do not like people writing songs and then other people singing them. A lot of people don’t even sing their own songs anymore. It’s like producers these days have ghost producers ‘I don’t produce, but I am a producer.’

— Afrojack

When you write songs, you’re writing little bits here, little bits there.

— Albert Hammond, Jr.

Rush has never been a spontaneous group. We may be spontaneous in our writing, we may be spontaneous as individuals in our day to day lives… certainly I think am and always have been, but I think when it comes to Rush and our presentation of our music it’s quite controlled.

— Alex Lifeson

These days, there are times when my academic thinking intervenes in my writing, but it’s usually while I’m developing a project and not while I’m writing it.

— Alexandra Kleeman

A lot of the surreal writing that I love is really dreamlike. Like Murakami. He uses the real world, and it’s pretty recognizable, but its populated by these strange visitors, or it has these underground spaces. I was always really compelled by that.

— Alexandra Kleeman

After a while, the characters I’m writing begin to feel real to me. That’s when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

— Alice Hoffman

Every time I finish a book, I forget everything I learned writing it – the information just disappears out of my head.

— Alice Hoffman

I never see a novel as a film while I’m writing it. Mostly because novels and films are so different, and I’m such an internal novelist.

— Alice Hoffman

I’m much faster now. When you only have a certain amount of time to write, after a while you learn to use your time well or you stop writing.

— Alice Hoffman

Even when writing your own poems, you need to talk to people you need to magpie around, getting words and things. I’m very against the celebrity culture that wants to say: ‘this is a genius, this is one person who has done something brilliant.’ There are always a hundred people in the background who have helped to make it.

— Alice Oswald

I moved to Chicago and I did theater, and then I started writing and I stop acting and I did sketch. You know, I did all of the things that, if you were serious about doing television, don’t do.

— Allison Tolman

If your purpose is to make money, you shouldn’t get into writing.

— Amish Tripathi

I love writing letters. In order to write a novel in first person, I think I needed an addressee.

— Amity Gaige

Reading while I’m writing ideally inspires my competitive side. When I read great writers, I want to be a better writer.

— Amity Gaige

I certainly want people to like my writing, but I know that if I write with the intention of trying to please people, the writing will not be good because it will not be authentic. So, ironically, I have to be willing to write something strange or unlovable in order to write anything truly good.

— Amity Gaige

I think all writers are mainly writing for themselves because I believe that most writers are writing based on a need to write. But at the same time, I feel that writers are, of course, writing for their readers, too.

— Amy Bloom

I usually don’t have to do a lot of research in my work, as I’m writing about something I’m already familiar with.

— Amy Bloom

Keep your mouth shut and see what’s happening around you. Don’t finish people’s sentences for them. Don’t just hear what they say, but also how they behave while they’re saying it. That was great training for writing.

— Amy Bloom

My writing process, such as it is, consists of a lot of noodling, procrastinating, dawdling, and avoiding.

— Amy Bloom

Smart people often talk trash about happiness and worse than trash about books on happiness, and they have been doing so for centuries – just as long as other people have been pursuing happiness and writing books about it.

— Amy Bloom

When you have somebody writing or acting for you, you have to be free to have them hate you so you can get your ideas across without worrying.

— Amy Heckerling

I found ‘The Twin’ sitting on a coffee table at a writers’ colony in 2009. It carried praise from J.M. Coetzee. That seemed ample justification for using it to avoid my own writing. I finished it – weeping – a day later, and I’ve been puzzling over its powerful hold on me ever since.

— Amy Waldman

I can’t remember why or how I started writing, but I think it was always a way of making sense of the world.

— Andrea Arnold

Novelists are no more moral or certain than anybody else we are ideologically adrift, and if we are any good then our writing will live in several places at once. That is both our curse and our charm.

— Andrew O’Hagan

There’s more to research than just looking up facts. Eventually, you have to make subjective calls. If you’re writing a science fiction novel, there’s probably some speculative technology in it. You’ll have to decide how to project existing technology forward in a plausible way.

— Andy Weir

In non-fiction, I found John Gardner’s two writing books to be tremendously helpful.

— Ann Leckie

Writing books can be very individual – one might strike you as helpful that someone else found useless, or that you might not have appreciated at some other time in your life.

— Ann Leckie

Well, I always say that the two things I was most disastrous at in my life, being a teenager and being a wife, were the two things I really wound up cashing in on when I was writing fluffy magazine pieces.

— Ann Patchett

I don’t write for an audience, I don’t think whether my book will sell, I don’t sell it before I finish writing it.

— Ann Patchett

I can write for any magazine now, in any voice. I can do it in two hours, I could do it in my sleep, it’s like writing a grocery list.

— Ann Patchett

The beautiful feeling after writing a poem is on the whole better even than after sex, and that’s saying a lot.

— Anne Sexton

My writing day has grown shorter as I’ve aged, although it seems to produce the same number of pages.

— Anne Tyler

If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.

— Anne Tyler

I’m too shy for personal appearances, and I’ve found out that anytime I talk about my writing, I can’t do any writing for many weeks afterward.

— Anne Tyler

I’m a right pain in the hole for my agent. I won’t take certain parts if I think they’re offensive or banal. For instance, I won’t do a film if I think it’s full of violence for violence’s sake, or a television drama if I don’t think it’s intelligent writing.

— Anne-Marie Duff

The first thing that attracts me to any script is the writing. If I find myself becoming lost in a good yarn, then I feel certain that others will, too.

— Anne-Marie Duff

As somebody who’s been writing about this subject for getting on twenty years now, it’s astonishing how the climate has changed in the last five years.

— Anthony Holden

He did once say the time to worry is when they stop writing about you but again I think that was pretty token of the coverage was very respectful, he rather resented the intrusions on his private life, but that was about it.

— Anthony Holden

I enjoyed writing for someone else’s voice, but I wasn’t very good at it.

— Anthony Jeselnik

Daredevil: Season One’ is kind of in-between. On the one hand, sure, it’s a graphic novel. But on the other, it’s beholden to existing continuity, and we’re still telling the story in issue-length chapters. So it’s not that different to writing a miniseries, and I’ve done plenty of those.

— Antony Johnston

Too much of Indian writing in English, it seemed to me, consisted of middle-class people writing about other middle-class people – and a small slice of life being passed off as an authentic portrait of the country.

— Aravind Adiga

When I was writing ‘The White Tiger’ I lived in a building pretty much exactly like the one I described in this novel, and the people in the book are the people I lived with back then. So I didn’t have to do much research to find them.

— Aravind Adiga

I’m a 50-year-old guy making music for over 20 years. I’ve been writing songs since I was 20, so it’s really been 30 years, and it’s always been personal, but I’ve always told stories.

— Art Alexakis

Now I’m fortunate to have a good band in CA, and play many solo gigs as well. My point is that I stopped playing in bands and played solo for four years, to get back into the groove and pulse of writing and singing and who I am on stage.

— Arthur Godfrey

The process of writing is like creating a game of dominoes: The first domino creates the second incident, and so forth until the end.

— Asghar Farhadi

During all of my writing career – this includes when I was writing plays and my other screenplays – I don’t recall ever writing a negative character, which does not mean that my characters aren’t flawed or do not make mistakes. In actual fact, they all are quite flawed.

— Asghar Farhadi

How thin and insecure is that little beach of white sand we call consciousness. I’ve always known that in my writing it is the dark troubled sea of which I know nothing, save its presence, that carried me. I’ve always felt that creating was a fearless and a timid, a despairing and hopeful, launching out into that unknown.

— Athol Fugard

With so many young playwrights, the true craft of writing for living voices is not what it used to be. They write for attention spans of 10 minutes between adverts.

— Athol Fugard

I’m sure there are people who survive tragedy without humor, but I’ve never met any of them. Nor would I be particularly interested in writing about them if I did meet them.

— Ayelet Waldman

I like English, and I like writing essays, and that kind of stuff.

— Abigail Breslin

It’s bad writing, however naturalistic it’s written, that’s where you have to do your best acting.

— Adam Brody

E.T.’ was the movie that made me want to make movies in the first place, and it was the first movie that made me focus on writing instead of what happens in the movie.

— Adam Green

I have to be entertained by what I’m writing, so a lot of my stuff has a goofiness or scatological quality. If these characters can entertain me, then I feel like I can deal with the darker or more serious stuff.

— Adam Rapp

One of the tricks to writing great plays is to get people in a room together and not let them leave. You want the tension to escalate. Keeping them there is the hardest part, so you have to take away any excuse for them to leave.

— Adam Rapp

When I’m directing, I’m pretty much not writing, but when I’m not directing I am writing a lot. It’s strange: people have asked me what my schedule is and what is my process like, and I can’t even answer it. I don’t keep regular hours.

— Adam Rapp

The most fun I ever have is sitting in with Rick writing, and we laugh at our own jokes.

— Adrian Edmondson

I get a little myopic in the act of doing any writing. I think I’m not as interested or not as able to write about balance, because I think there’s something I want to try to get at. I’m trying to get at something about the experience of growing up or about families.

— Aimee Bender

For me as a person, friendships are incredibly important to me, but in writing, they can distract me.

— Aimee Bender

Generally, I think most of my writing tends to have some kind of magical element to it. That’s the way I can access the emotional life of the character.

— Aimee Bender

Writing can be a frightening, distressing business, and whatever kind of structure or buffer is available can help a lot.

— Aimee Bender

At readings, audience members sometimes ask if I keep writing past the two hours if I’m on a roll, but I don’t. I figure that if I’m on a roll, it’s partially because I know I’m about to stop.

— Aimee Bender

For me, even in my first book, the pleasures of writing anything magical is that it has to be physical. It has to be grounded and very much in this world. Then, I get to play with all the consequences of this new thing.

— Aimee Bender

Now, if, as I think, writing should be, it’s a kind of risky trade.

— Al Alvarez

Most TV shows are writing the next episode while you’re directing the one you’re doing, and they’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do, and they’re putting it all together.

— Alex Graves

Writing on the blog, you want to get attention and make strong claims. In academic work, that often doesn’t pay, so sometimes it’s a little bit difficult going back and forth to navigate these differences.

— Alex Tabarrok

My favorite travel pastime is writing music, either with my guitar or on my computer.

— Alexander Ludwig

Writing allows me the time to travel and see the world, which is what I always wanted to do. I’d really like to have been Sir Richard Francis Burton, but it’s the wrong century.

— Alan Dean Foster

Keep writing. Try to do a little bit every day, even if the result looks like crap. Getting from page four to page five is more important than spending three weeks getting page four perfect.

— Alan Dean Foster

I started writing ‘The Lobster Kings’ the day after I sold my first novel, ‘Touch.’

— Alexi Zentner

When I’m writing a novel, one of the things I do is get big poster boards. They’re actually canvases that artists use. And I keep all the characters’ names on them. If you write a big novel, there’s a lot of characters.

— Alexi Zentner

If I think of a reader while I am writing, the only reader who really matters for me is my wife. It’s most important to me that she likes what I write.

— Alexi Zentner

I grew up on film sets but more around the process of making films. I saw a lot of the editing process and the writing process, which takes years. That really affected me growing up, that side of it.

— Alice Englert

I don’t have kids, a mortgage, or a car. That has let me hold out for the jobs I want to do, and to sit in a cold room in the winter with fingerless gloves, writing.

— Alice Lowe

I read everything I could find in English – Twain, Henry James, Hemingway, really everything. And then after a while I started writing shorter pieces in English, and one of them got published in a literary magazine and that’s how it got started. After that, graduate school didn’t seem very important.

— Aleksandar Hemon

The trouble with calling a book a novel, well, it’s not like I’m writing the same book all the time, but there is a continuity of my interests, so when I start writing a book, if I call it ‘a novel,’ it separates it from other books.

— Aleksandar Hemon

As an actor, my main focus is finding good writing and attacking a good role.

— Amanda Peet

The cool thing about being a songwriter, or a writer, I guess, in general, you can take on a lot of different things, experience a lot of different things, just by writing about them.

— Amos Lee

I write just knowing that I enjoy writing. But if I have to write, it seems like nothing comes. But when I go there for my own pleasure, the Lord might just give me loads of stuff all at once.

— Andrae Crouch

I would imagine that most of my writing is done spontaneously. I had no intention of writing, and then I’ll just walk through the house, and I’ll hear this melody, and I’ll turn on the tape players and go back to it later on. Some days I’ll get 3-5 songs a day.

— Andrae Crouch

Allowing alternative narrative modes in popular entertainment may seem obvious, yet when you turn a pilot into the people upstairs and the main character isn’t after what she wants by the top of page two, you get treated as if you’ve failed at writing.

— Andrea Seigel

When I began, the guitar was en-closed in a vicious circle. There were no composers writing for the guitar, be-cause there were no virtuoso guitarists.

— Andres Segovia

I was always interested in acting and writing, and I honestly thought I’d make my name as a scriptwriter one day. But somehow, I ended up in London in the early ’70s, and that’s where I had my David Bowie adventure.

— Angela Bowie

I work at the sentences. Many of the things people find distinctive about my writing, I think of as natural.

— Anne Enright

Recently I read the stories I wrote in my early 20s, to put in a volume. And here is this brittle young woman, writing about marriage as, not the worst thing, but the most boring thing that could happen to a person. Now I think I was wrong. I like to be proven wrong.

— Anne Enright

You write a book and you finish the book. That’s your job done, right? You win the Booker and you have a whole new job. You have to be the thing, right? So instead of writing the story, you somehow are the story. And that I found that sort of terrible.

— Anne Enright

I was 22 and stopped writing plays, and I didn’t start again until I was 25. I was writing badly. In college, I attempted to write these more conventional plays, but the theater I loved was downtown experimental theater. I didn’t feel like I could do that either. It didn’t occur to me to do my own thing.

— Annie Baker

I think growing up in a small town, the kind of people I met in my small town, they still haunt me. I find myself writing about them over and over again.

— Annie Baker

Yeah, I have the detail-obsessed, controlling personality of a novelist, but I somehow ended up writing plays.

— Annie Baker

When you’re writing in big block paragraphs, you can afford to have a redundant sentence now and then, but the Twitter format requires concision.

— Anthony Marra

Chechnya forms the bookends to Tolstoy’s career. He began writing his first novel, ‘Childhood,’ while in Starogladovskaya in Northern Chechnya, and his final novel, ‘Hadji Murad,’ is set in the Russo-Chechen War of the 19th century.

— Anthony Marra

Research is not an obstacle, something to be frightened of. It can be one of the real joys of writing.

— Anthony Marra

I joined a writing class at a nearby community center, where I was the youngest participant by about 40 years. Once a week, I’d funnel down a staircase and join the dozen retirees crowded in folding chairs around a table to discuss one another’s stories.

— Anthony Marra

Writing is the process of finding something to distract you from writing, and of all the helpful distractions – adultery, alcohol and acedia, all of which aided our writing fathers – none can equal the Internet.

— Adam Gopnik

To be honest, writing comics is a dream come true – the form is unparalleled and is home to some of the most original and innovative storytelling around.

— Adam Christopher

That’s the most amazing thing about writing, whether it’s in prose or comics: that you can create something from nothing, and suddenly they come to life, like they’ve always been there.

— Adam Christopher

Even as I was writing ‘Empire State,’ I knew there were more adventures for the main character, private detective Rad Bradley, to have. I also knew that the world was far larger than what I’d presented in book one.

— Adam Christopher

You know, writing is really difficult, and it takes a real patience and a skill. I don’t know if I have that. I admire it in others, so much, and I envy it.

— Adam Scott

I loved to read, still do, and it seemed that the writing was a result of the love of books and reading and libraries.

— Adriana Trigiani

And when you clear away the cobwebs of the description of every job in the world, at the bottom of that job is service. It’s service. And I took that ethic and applied it to my writing craft.

— Adriana Trigiani

I care what my reader thinks. There is no fancy recommendation you can give me that would matter to me as much as Mary Jane from Youngstown writing me a letter. There is not one. Don’t need it, don’t want it, don’t require it, does not fill up my soul. It’s about her, not about the rest of it.

— Adriana Trigiani

Writing is writing. It’s an abiding, wonderful talent, craft, gift that stays with you your whole life. And you can go in different forms, and you can try them. Look at me: I’m writing novels because I found something I love because I tried it.

— Adriana Trigiani

My earnestness at the injustices I witnessed when I was writing ‘Random Family’ may have been my gravest reportorial offense during the early years of reporting. When I discuss the book with students, they often ask me how I could ‘stand by’ in the face of so much suffering the egregiousness wasn’t my powerlessness but my surprise.

— Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

It’s hard for me to understand how poverty can be invisible to so many people, since I see it everywhere. Readers sometimes think this world is so different on the one hand, they feel connected to the people I’m writing about, and on the other hand, they’re saying their lives are a world away.

— Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

There’s one thing I know for sure: When I’m most opinionated, my writing sucks.

— Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Being a director, just to begin with, is just, I think, one of the hardest jobs just because you have to work in every way. You have to work with actors, you have to be involved with the producers and the writing and the action. Every department comes to you you have to deal with everything.

— Agnes Bruckner

I’ve always wanted to have a book published – it was a dream of mine, but the thought of actually writing a book made me feel really sick.

— Ahmet Zappa

I was always enjoying the moment. Acting, writing, looking for roles and getting involved with people and trying to create something that would be entertaining to people. With ‘E.R.,’ we were all very lucky to get this combination of people together in the right story in the right way to take it to the level it has reached.

— Anthony Edwards

I’m one of those writers who can’t talk about what they’re working on. The entire four years I was writing ‘House of Sand and Fog,’ my wife never saw a word of it. I just have to keep it in the womb, and then everyone can have a crack at it.

— Andre Dubus III

Most of the time I feel stupid, insensitive, mediocre, talentless and vulnerable – like I’m about to cry any second – and wrong. I’ve found that when that happens, it usually means I’m writing pretty well, pretty deeply, pretty rawly.

— Andre Dubus III

If you don’t put 99 percent of yourself into the writing, there will be no publishing career. There’s the writer and there’s the author. The author – you don’t ever think about the author. Just think about the writer. So my advice would be, find a way to not care – easier said than done.

— Andre Dubus III

Writing is taking a risk, and it is actually fighting invisible and invincible enemies. They are over-confidence, stupidity, expectation and narcissism.

— Andrea Hirata

As a writer, I can’t really take days off. Writing is like creating an art. Once you stop writing, you can lose your rhythm and context, meaning that your writing may lose its power.

— Andrea Hirata

I’m a simple hillbilly. I don’t like eating modern, industrialized, fast food. I grew up eating home-cooked food. So when I’m traveling abroad, like when I recently received a six-month writing fellowship to Iowa in the U.S., I like to cook my own food.

— Andrea Hirata

Before I published anything, I dreamed of publication, but I didn’t actually write for it. I imagined that writing for an audience was something for fancier people. I aspired, but mostly I wrote for myself. I wrote because it made me happy.

— Ariel Gore

If you here require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: ‘Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – whole-heartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscript to press.’

— Arthur Quiller-Couch

I had no idea when I moved to Nashville people just were songwriters. I had no idea. So I guess I was selling myself as a singer when I first moved here. But then right after I first moved, I started writing a lot.

— Ashley Monroe

Seven years into writing a novel, I started to lose my mind. My thirty-seventh birthday had just come and gone, the end of 2008 was approaching, and I was constantly aware of how little I had managed to accomplish.

— Akhil Sharma

There are writers out there who say they’re writing a second series, and then you pick it up and it feels exactly the same, only the lead character is blonde instead of brunette.

— Alafair Burke

I don’t think I’ve ever frightened myself before when writing, but there were areas where there was terror, as though I was looking into somewhere that I didn’t know existed before, and it frightened me.

— Alan Garner

My feeling is that writing is, for me, a pathological condition. That could sound like a mystical experience, and it may be a mystical experience, but I have learnt just to go with it.

— Alan Garner

My mother read nursery rhymes to me, and my grandmother told me folk stories, but as a child I had no interest in writing whatsoever.

— Alan Garner

We were developing an innovative Personal Information Manager called Chandler but a couple years ago I took off from that to do a project writing down my memoirs essentially, reminiscing about the development of the Macintosh.

— Andy Hertzfeld

For me, the guitar synthesizer is a great writing instrument.

— Andy Summers

While I would agree that I write about serious subjects, and that they’re not necessarily the most pleasant subjects or even the most pleasant people, as a writer I just think about the humorous aspects of these things – that’s what keeps me going when I’m writing a story.

— Ann Beattie

I have for a long time loved fabulist, imaginative fiction, such as the writing of Italo Calvino, Jose Saramago, Michael Bulgakov, and Salman Rushdie. I also like the magic realist writers, such as Borges and Marquez, and feel that interesting truths can be learned about our world by exploring highly distorted worlds.

— Alan Lightman

I’ve been writing for people long enough to know that it has got to feel comfortable coming out of their mouths, especially when you’re doing something that is first person and is so near and dear to you.

— Alan Zweibel

I wasn’t a class clown, I just found at an early age that I was able to make people laugh. So I mostly wrote funny stuff instead of writing what I was supposed to be writing.

— Alan Zweibel

With a series, keeping the quality high and writing incredibly fast, that’s the first lesson you learn. You can’t be real precious. When you’re doing a feature film, you have 2 1/2 months you sort of take your time. It’s a different animal.

— Alex Kurtzman

When you’re writing stuff that’s already clotted with neologisms and trying to get across fairly abstruse concepts, you’re already putting a heavy burden on the reader.

— Alastair Reynolds

Now, one can often get away with playing music by ear when it is not being recorded, but writing is another matter its mistakes are not forgotten because they are still there to confuse us.

— Albert Murray

That’s what writing is all about, after all, making others see what you have put down on the page and believing that it does, or could, exist and you want to go there.

— Anne McCaffrey

I do outlines when I’m writing with someone, but they also need to have a certain amount of freedom.

— Anne McCaffrey

For me writing and acting all comes out of the same place, a compulsion to review and connect to something. For me they are more similar than different.

— Aleksa Palladino

We’ve always dreamt of a TV series and working in film. When we first sat down to seriously write ‘A Little Nightmare Music,’ to write something for TV was our original inspiration. But all the stuff we were writing down is not going to work on stage. We had to rewrite it so it would work on the stage.

— Aleksey Igudesman

Popular music usually has a chorus that needs to repeat, and people need to remember the song. That’s sort of the major guideline when you’re writing a song.

— Alex Ebert

There’s a point at which writing a book, or a long article, begins to feel like mental labor, and it’s too painful to connect in the world in any real way mid-process. The only way to survive is to write until it is all said and done.

— Alexandra Fuller

The well-known inspiration for ‘Ulysses’ is made clear by the title itself: Joyce’s novel is based on Homer’s ‘Odyssey’, under the ever-fascinating premise that all of Odysseus’ extraordinary adventures can be experienced by a modern man in a single day, provided that the writing consists of his mental activity.

— Alvaro Enrigue

Writing is so fun precisely because if you take out the right adjective, the readers can decide what kind of book is in their hands. Suspension of disbelief should not be mandatory in contemporary writing.

— Alvaro Enrigue

I feel very strongly that where the facts exist, a historical novelist should use them if they’re writing about a person who really lived, because a lot of people come to history through historical novels. I did. And a lot of people want their history that way.

— Alison Weir

I try not to think about writers who came before me when I’m writing myself. If I did, given the abundance of literary talent Scotland – and Edinburgh in particular – has bestowed upon the world, I wouldn’t be able to get as much as a sentence written.

— Allan Guthrie

Maybe it’s the buildings, maybe it’s the weather, but you can see it affects us – that Scottish gallows humour our tendency towards bleakness, to look at things in a negative way. Those definitely come out in my writing.

— Allan Guthrie

I took an MA course in creative writing a couple of years back, and I was definitely in the bottom of the class.

— Allan Guthrie

Writing books that people want to read is helpful – my most successful book is my only police procedural, a very popular subgenre of the very popular crime fiction genre.

— Allan Guthrie

I managed to fit most of the writing to evenings and weekends, and my wife has been very supportive.

— Allan Guthrie

Well, one of the things I discovered in the course of looking back and writing about what I saw in my memory is that I was a closely observant person long before I became a reporter.

— Alma Guillermoprieto

You know that gap between where you are and where you’d like to be? Within that gap, there is an ache and an aspirational leap, which is very good for writing.

— Amanda Harlech

Writing is something I should have done more of, it’s a form of coming home.

— Amanda Harlech

I don’t want to be famous per se, but I want to write books for as long as I can. And I plan on writing a lot.

— Amanda Hocking

It’s while writing that suddenly a point of view appears: ‘So, that’s what I really thought about this thing’. Then it feels part of me.

— Amelie Nothomb

I think we can question whether degrees are antediluvian. Online learning has flexibility. Why not master courses in energy, writing, communications, and engineering and get a credential?

— Anant Agarwal

My goal was to do anything that would lead to a job. I know that writing would not lead to a job. It’s too fancy for me. My biggest goal was to be an office receptionist, answer phones. I didn’t expect to go beyond that.

— Anchee Min

I’m not patient at all. I avoid writer’s block by writing. I power through with a bad version, so I can move on, and usually once I’ve gotten to the next scene, I’ll discover what was missing from the bad version scene. Then I can easily rewrite it to get back on the right path.

— Anders Holm

Of all those arts in which the wise excel, Nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.

— Andre Breton

I have a great many shortcomings, but writing for something on time has never bothered me.

— Andre Previn

By junior high, I was a horrible student. But during my sophomore year of high school, I did have a fabulous English teacher, and I would go to school just for her class and then skip out afterwards. That’s actually when I started writing, although I didn’t think of it then as something I might someday do.

— Andrea Barrett

I think most fiction writers naturally start by writing short stories, but some of us don’t. When I first started writing, I just started writing a novel. It’s a hard way to learn to write. I don’t recommend it to my students, but it just happens that way for some of us.

— Andrea Barrett

If the hairs on my neck stand up while I’m writing, I figure the reader will get the same kind of shock.

— Andrew Pyper

What I see as the particularly exciting prospect for writing horror fiction as we go forward is setting stories in more internal landscapes than external ones, mapping out the mind as the home for scary things instead of the house at the end of the lane or lakeside campground or abandoned amusement park.

— Andrew Pyper

I enjoy singing the songs a certain way, but I don’t even know how the writing even began. To me, it’s work that is kind of invisible it’s a weird kind of work to have because you’re not working, but it’s not not work. Formulating your thoughts and making a melody that’s catchy enough for people to listen to what you’re saying is really hard!

— Angel Olsen

I guess that in a lot of ways, my writing is more of a character to me than something that I feel personally attached to.

— Angel Olsen

I’ve held my silence when I probably shouldn’t have. But I was in the minority, a woman writing SF, and I was afraid of career backlash. I was afraid of being excluded or losing opportunities if I didn’t play nice.

— Ann Aguirre

As much as I’m drawn to writing about teenage girls, I like the idea of having the freedom to branch out and write about different ages, for different ages.

— Ann Brashares

I got the writing bug in the fourth grade when a poem of mine was published in the school newspaper. Music criticism came a little later, when I was in high school.

— Ann Powers

I enjoyed singing and playing guitar but didn’t have the stamina to make music-making a career. In reality, writing was my real gift, and as soon as I figured that out I never looked back.

— Ann Powers

I’m publicizing the book that’s done. I’m writing the book that’s in the hopper, and I’m doing a little advance research on the book to come.

— Ann Rule

I continue to wish that writing were easier, that it would flow out completely perfect with no need for revisions.

— Ann Turner

When I first began to have the initial idea for ‘Heartsease,’ I just wrote a skeleton story that is, I started her off as this young, bright 16-year-old and then added the events that occurred and where she and other characters fitted in, even writing 3 different endings, as I was not sure where Mary’s story would lead to.

— Ann Turner

I attribute the black tones in my films to Stephen King, Tim Burton, Joe Hill and Richard Matheson. However, most of my writing is influenced by mental health. I’m incredibly passionate about shedding light on the stigmas associated with mental illnesses.

— Anna Akana

When I began to be published, people got the idea that I should ‘teach writing,’ which I have no idea how to do and don’t really believe in.

— Anne Carson

I do think that something of the effect I have on people is to put everything on an edge where they’re both infatuated with a kind of charmingness happening in the person or in the writing, and also flatly terrified by a revelation or acceptance of revelation that’s almost happening, never quite totally happening.

— Anne Carson

Maybe I could have been good as a drawer if I had done it as much as I did writing, but it’s more scary to draw. It’s more revealing. You can’t disguise yourself in drawing.

— Anne Carson

I get intrigued by a puzzle, and writing a book is the best way to solve it.

— Anthony Storr

There are some different things I’m writing and developing, but I don’t know where they’ll go. They’re fun stuff that I would be in and are written in my voice, for me.

— Abby Elliott

I spent every night until four in the morning on my dissertation, until I came to the point when I could not write another word, not even the next letter. I went to bed. Eight o’clock the next morning I was up writing again.

— Abraham Pais

Characters are incredibly important, but I tend to build them around the plot during the outline stage. However, once I’m writing the manuscript, the characters I’m writing dictate how the plot unfolds.

— Aimee Carter

I’ve been working on my own music. I’ve been writing an album, stuff that’s kind of personal to my own life.

— Ariel Winter

I find it an easy way into writing pieces is to think what the character’s voice is like, and start from there.

— Armando Iannucci

Another thing that’s quite different in writing a book as a practicing newspaperman is that if you look at what you’ve written the next morning and you think you didn’t get it quite right, you can fix it.

— Adam Clymer

You know, sometimes I get moments of inspiration when I’m writing something and then the task seems so daunting that it just kind of scares me away.

— Adam Pascal

The Holocaust is a central event in many people’s lives, but it also has become a metaphor for our century. There cannot be an end to speaking and writing about it. Besides, in Israel, everyone carries a biography deep inside him.

— Aharon Appelfeld

Write. Enjoy writing. Then, and only then, worry about the business end of it. Start loving your hobby, and then you can’t go too wrong.

— Arthur Phillips

When writing fantastical literature, your biggest problem is getting your audience to believe the fantastical elements of your story.

— Arthur Slade

As with all types of writing, fantastical fiction depends on the same basic rules.

— Arthur Slade

If I lose, then I have to accept that my way of writing books is not the way society says it’s okay to write.

— Asne Seierstad

By the time I was at college, I became very alert to the question of racial discrimination, and I remember one of my first writing attempts had to do with a lynching.

— Albert Maltz

I’m still auditioning and doing other movie parts, but I really like the developing and the writing. You have more control over your destiny.

— Alex Borstein

If you’re writing anything decent, it’s in you, it’s your spirit coming out. If it’s not an expression of how a person genuinely feels, then it’s not a good song done with any conviction.

— Alex Chilton

We don’t perceive a contradiction between writing books, making films or producing a television program. These days you can’t choose how you want to express yourself anymore.

— Alexander Kluge

Co-creation is much more work than writing somewhere in a hidden corner and then publishing your content. However, the benefits outweigh the costs.

— Alexander Osterwalder

I think that writing texts, publishing texts, selling texts in a physical book store is one of the important tools for breeding this new generation.

— Alexander Mamut

I really don’t know why Scarlett has such appeal. When I began writing the sequel, I had a lot of trouble because Scarlett is not my kind of person. She’s virtually illiterate, has no taste, never learns from her mistakes.

— Alexandra Ripley

I’m not a born writer, and I don’t enjoy writing.

— Alistair Maclean

Like many authors, I caught the writing bug during my teenage years. I don’t remember the exact day or year, but I remember that reading S.E. Hinton’s ‘The Outsiders’ sparked my interest in writing.

— Ally Carter

If the character is really well-rounded, and it’s a really strong character, and if the writing is just fantastic, that’s the thing that will hook me in, certainly.

— Amanda Abbington

I just started writing for my own amusement and occasionally singing in little clubs around Los Angeles. Then I wrote ‘The Rose,’ and through a series of divine things that I had no control over and had no idea were going to happen, it got in the movie, and that changed everything.

— Amanda McBroom

The most important thing when starting out with essay writing is to find a voice with which you’re comfortable. You need to find a persona that is very much like you, but slightly caricatured.

— Anne Fadiman

Somebody said writing is easy, you just sit down at your typewriter and open a vein. It depends on the book. Some, I have to do quite a lot of research, which I like. Others are much closer to me.

— Anne Rivers Siddons

I love opera, I love writing for the voice, I love telling stories with music.

— Anthony Davis

I started writing by doing small related things but not the thing itself, circling it and getting closer. I had no idea how to write fiction. So I did journalism because there were rules I could learn. You can teach someone to write a news story. They might not write a great one, but you can teach that pretty easily.

— Amy Hempel

I don’t like writing straight-up thrillers. I like writing about families hurled into crisis and danger – soccer moms and regular dads and husbands who might have to rescue their daughters or who are, say, hedge fund managers and have one foot on the sidelines watching their kids and the other in nefarious cover-ups and conspiracies.

— Andrew Gross

When I began writing that I was able and did travel and met some fascinating people and also uncovered some history, which has not been discovered before.

— Arthur Hailey

I had several publishers, and they were all the same. They all wanted salacious. And everybody is writing autobiographies, and that’s one reason why I’m not going to do it. If young Posh Spice can write her autobiography, then I don’t want to write one!

— Anita Pallenberg

Some weeks there’s no writing, and some weeks are full of writing.

— Ann Packer

I write pretty much when I can. I used to be very particular about needing certain conditions for writing, but when I had children, I discovered that I was a lot more flexible than I thought.

— Ann Packer

The earth is ready, the time is ripe, for the authoritative expression of the feminine as well as the masculine interpretation of that common social consensus which is slowly writing justice in the State and fraternity in the social order.

— Anna Garlin Spencer

For me, writing time has always been precious, something I wait for and am eager for and make the best use of. That’s probably why I get up so early and have writing time in the quiet dawn hours, when no one needs me.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I never thought of myself as a songwriter. I was just an artist writing songs, and they just happened to get placed.

— Bebe Rexha

The best writing is not about the writer, the best writing is absolutely not about the writer, it’s about us, it’s about the reader.

— Ben Okri

America’s liberal arts universities have long been safe zones for leftist thinking, protected ivory towers for the pseudo-elite who earn their livings writing papers nobody reads about gender roles in the poetry of Maya Angelou.

— Ben Shapiro

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.

— Benjamin Franklin

If you start off writing an album with a band, the reality is that you’re constantly in each other’s company, so it’s really important that you get on with each other.

— Bernard Sumner

As far as arrangements after the basic track is cut, if I’m writing a horn arrangement or playing strings, I might arrange that, plan that out. Other times, I’ll just sit and roll tape.

— Bernie Worrell

I didn’t start out writing to give children hope, but I’m glad some of them found it.

— Beverly Cleary

I don’t really write any of my raps down. The same, Kanye don’t write any of his raps down. Common. It’s easy that way. For me, personally, I figure I will lose some of the inspiration in the time of me writing it down, or I’ll say it a certain way because I wrote it a certain way.

— Big Sean

I don’t plan to write another science book, but I don’t plan not to. I do enjoy writing histories, and taking subjects that are generally dull and trying to make them interesting.

— Bill Bryson

I always tell people there’s only one trick to writing: You have to write something that people are willing to pay money to read. It doesn’t have to be very good, necessarily, but somebody, somewhere, has got to be willing to pay money for it.

— Bill Bryson

I don’t see much comedy in the Bible, where people are writing about funny people. It’s not there.

— Bill Cosby

Some people, through luck and skill, end up with a lot of assets. If you’re good at kicking a ball, writing software, investing in stocks, it pays extremely well.

— Bill Gates

I’ve always been amazed by Da Vinci, because he worked out science on his own. He would work by drawing things and writing down his ideas. Of course, he designed all sorts of flying machines way before you could actually build something like that.

— Bill Gates

When I met Judd Apatow, he told me I should start writing screenplays. They’d be really bad at first, but the more I did it, the better I’d get.

— Bill Hader

The poem is not, as someone put it, deflective of entry. But the real question is, ‘What happens to the reader once he or she gets inside the poem?’ That’s the real question for me, is getting the reader into the poem and then taking the reader somewhere, because I think of poetry as a kind of form of travel writing.

— Billy Collins

As I sit here writing and look across the room at Janice, I keep thinking of the most heartbreaking question: which of us will go first?

— Billy Crystal

In 2008, I was more just thinking about using the touchscreen for writing the songs. From there I started thinking about how I visualised music.

— Bjork

I loved ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ because I like Ray and I thought it was beautifully cast, I thought it was great writing. I thought Patricia Heaton was wonderful.

— Bob Newhart

And after about two years, I realized that creative writing was not going to help you ace those biological tests. So I switched over to journalism. I didn’t graduate with honors, but I did graduate on time and with some doing.

— Bob Schieffer

I enjoyed needling the press. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t have done it. Writers have rarely played, so as a coach, you have antagonistic feelings about some guy writing up the story of the game who’s never even attempted to play it.

— Bobby Knight

U2 is sort of song writing by accident really. We don’t really know what we’re doing and when we do, it doesn’t seem to help.

— Bono

But then I go through long periods where I don’t listen to things, usually when I’m working. In between the records and in between the writing I suck up books and music and movies and anything I can find.

— Bruce Springsteen

R&B is the one thing that has influenced every kind of music. Every artist that there is, from those that are sung the most to Adele – you know, she was so influenced by so many R&B artists and soul music – it’s clear in her writing that that’s where it comes from.

— Babyface

I got into writing music when I was, like, 14 or 15. It was a very private thing for me because I used it as an outlet and emotional release. I kept it very close to myself and didn’t tell too many people about it.

— Banks

When I’m writing, it’s the weirdest thing: it’s not even a conscious process. I’m not even thinking when I write, and then all of a sudden, I’ll have a song that makes me feel so much better than I did before.

— Banks

It’s that beautiful thing to love your weaknesses, your insecurities, and then put them all on blast. That’s why I started writing, and that’s why it was so hard to do it in public.

— Banks

I always say that I’m an artist who works with pictures and words, so I think that the different aspects of my activity, whether it’s writing criticism, or doing visual work that incorporates writing, or teaching, or curating, is all of a single cloth, and I don’t make any separation in terms of those practices.

— Barbara Kruger

If the songs I’m writing can offer anything to somebody, I’d like to give myself the opportunity to deliver that.

— Brantley Gilbert

Ever since I began writing my Junie B. Jones series, people have been assuming that the character is based on me when I was a little girl. The fact is, though, that Junie B. and I have very little in common.

— Barbara Park

Writing a song to be a single is hard, and I don’t like to focus on that because you can get caught up in making something just terrible, which is really easy to do if you’re focused on making it a single. It’s more fun when you focus on what excites you musically.

— Brendon Urie

When you have four people writing lyrics instead of one person, the lyrics are going to be a little more broad.

— Brendon Urie

The Internet is a limitless library at your fingertips. It’s a great place to start with the acquisition of knowledge. My process is to go to a place when I’m writing about it. Nothing captures the essence, feeling and flavor of a place better than when I’m actually there and doing the writing.

— Barry Eisler

Overall, one of the things that excites me most about self-publishing is that the highest-value use of my time in promoting the books will be found in writing more of them.

— Barry Eisler

I was always kind of florid. And full of rhetoric. That was my flaw. My whole time writing, I’ve had to work against that because it can be a wrecking posture.

— Barry Hannah

Some writers are curiously unmusical. I don’t get it. I don’t get them. For me, music is essential. I always have music on when I’m doing well. Writing and music are two different mediums, but musical phrases can give you sentences that you didn’t think you ever had.

— Barry Hannah

I’ll tell you why I like writing: it’s just jumping into a pool. I get myself into a kind of trance. I engage the world, but it’s also wonderful to just escape. I try to find the purities out of the confusion. It’s pretty old-fashioned, but it’s fun.

— Barry Hannah

Honestly, I envy painters, who can have a masterpiece in one morning. Or musicians, who can write something in 30 minutes and arrange it in an hour, sometimes. ‘Cause with this, with writing, you can occasionally feel like a caveman, like you’ve been working with pitch and tar on this brush.

— Barry Hannah

Once you research an idea, you begin to develop a perspective. Writing about anything in public, often in real time, has helped fashion my views.

— Barry Ritholtz

Writing for the stage is different from writing for a book. You want to write in a way that an actor has material to work with, writing in the first person not the third person, and pulling out the dramatic elements in a bigger way for a stage presentation.

— Brian Greene

When I was 11, I decided to start rapping, playing guitar, and writing songs. Everything really blossomed from there.

— Becky G

We think that there is this terrible idea that the kids are digital natives… and they know what they’re doing, but all the evidence says that they’re hanging around going, ‘Where are you, I’m here, can I post my picture?’ They’re not actually writing wikis they’re not actually listening to great poets live.

— Beeban Kidron

My movies are unadorned, they’re not particularly fancy, I think they’re kind of workmanlike in some ways, focusing on the writing and the acting.

— Ben Affleck

I’m lucky because the strongest emotion I have ever felt is being in love, and that definitely informs my writing.

— Ben Elton

I loved writing ‘Two Brothers’ more than anything else I have written. It’s the first book I’ve written that I’ve always known I wanted to write. Having said that, it also kept me awake at nights.

— Ben Elton

There are always dimensions, and the way they get expressed is through the writing and the actors and the director you get to work with on that day. But there are always dimensions, outside of really basic stuff for very young people where it needs to be very clear.

— Ben Mendelsohn

I’m actually doing what I like doing, which is mixing opera music and classical music with soul and folk. And I was writing and talking about what I’ve actually experienced, and I don’t think that’s very common.

— Benjamin Clementine

When you’re making music, it’s meant to be shared with people. Sometimes, even if I’m writing a song, someone else brings a vibe. There’s something different about it. If someone can play a better bassline than me, I’ll let them do it. I’m just here to fit in and see where it goes.

— Benny Blanco

I was writing poems when I was young, you know, because my father was a poet, so it was absolutely normal to follow my father.

— Bernardo Bertolucci

Most of the time I was in the Northeast, I lived in the country, and I think that helped me to discover my material for writing.

— Bobbie Ann Mason

Writing about where I was from and the people I knew was not something that would have occurred to me early on, because like so many Southerners of that period – the Sixties – I rejected those things when I went north.

— Bobbie Ann Mason

In the early Seventies, I started writing a little autobiographical novel about my childhood – I made it into a mystery story.

— Bobbie Ann Mason

As far as modern writing is concerned, it is rarely rewarding to translate it, although it might be easy. Translation is very much like copying paintings.

— Boris Pasternak

Sean Penn, for his acting as well as his writing and directing. There are so many actors I respect, but his reach is so wide.

— Boyd Holbrook

Accepting that part of the process of writing is deleting a lot of what you write is soothing, at least to me.

— Brad Feld

What has bothered and angered radical Muslims is that I’m a non-Muslim writing anything at all about Islam. But this is fiction, and I don’t think Islam is above criticism or fictionalization any more so than Judaism, Christianity, Mormonism or Hinduism is.

— Brad Thor

When I started out, I was definitely writing about experiences that I hadn’t had yet. The songs were just based on my influences, songwriters that had written songs before me and that were more experienced and 20, 30 years older than me.

— Brandi Carlile

Writing is sort of putting a puzzle together halfway. Then, performing it has always been the completion of it. Once that happens, I’m feeling verbally communal with other people. It’s out there and I feel so much better about it.

— Brandi Carlile

I was embarrassingly well-versed in Marvel lore, so it was pretty easy to slip into that world. But really, already, by the time I’d started writing superhero comics, my dream was really to be writing my own characters.

— Brian K. Vaughan

When the label came to me to say, ‘would you like to do another record,’ I said, ‘Well I got these sixteen songs sitting here, so let’s do it.’ And that was pretty much it… I never stopped writing, it’s just the way that the business is now you just try to find a different model.

— Brian McKnight

In writing I found something I could do at least as well as my peers, if not better.

— Brian P. Cleary

There’s not a whole lot to do in Athens. When I was 13, I just started entertaining myself by writing songs. I’d sit in my room for 10 hours playing the same song, stacking vocals, trying out different drum beats, realizing no one would ever hear this but having so much fun. I guess I got my voice from just doing that so often.

— Brittany Howard

I hate this idea that I’ve somehow become detached. It’s like I can’t win. I’d been hearing all these years that I was too hands-on: that I was the guy writing out the lineup card. Now, I’m not present enough. How is it possible to be a detached micromanager?

— Billy Beane

Acting is playing – it’s actually going out on a playground with the other kids and being in the game, and I need that. Writing satisfies that part of myself that longs to sit in my room and dream.

— Billy Bob Thornton

It was such a paradox for me that the only thing I know how to do is act, but that the first thing I abandoned while writing were the characters.

— Bryce Dallas Howard

What I do is not go outside. My hobby is that I write, so if I’m not acting or being a mom, I’m writing.

— Bryce Dallas Howard

Writing ‘when you find me,’ it really exposed me to a way of putting together a story I hadn’t thought of.

— Bryce Dallas Howard

Music is my work, writing songs is my work, touring is my work, going into the studio is my work.

— Burning Spear

I have great ideas, but the follow through is always really difficult for me. As my kid gets a little bit older, if I feel like I have a little bit more time on my hands, I’d like to get more into developing ideas and writing things.

— Busy Philipps

I want to travel around the country and make my living playing music. I also try to behave in a way that I would appreciate as a music fan. That’s how we conduct ourselves, be it in writing music or playing it live.

— Buzz Osborne

I’ve been a list maker for years, even before I was a musician. I was always writing things down and kept long lists of things that would make good album titles and things like that. I’m constantly thinking in terms of songwriting.

— Buzz Osborne

The whole purpose of writing a book is to be understood – if other people write about you, they try to guess why you did things, or they hear things from other people.

— Berry Gordy

Pain’ is more indicative of what I like to do. I’m lyric-conscious. I like to tell stories, give advice. Instead of writing a ‘Dear Abby’ column, I do it on records.

— Betty Wright

I’m lyric conscious. I like to tell stories, give advice. Instead of writing a ‘Dear Abby’ column, I do it on records.

— Betty Wright

Writing songs was like my ticket to the world, I think.

— Bill Callahan

With memoir, you have the clay of your life to work with. When you’re writing a novel, you have to make the clay first.

— Bill Clegg

I identify as an agent when I’m agenting, and I identify as an author when I’m writing. I expect both those things to be true for as long as I’m able to do them.

— Bill Clegg

I’m a huge Emile Zola fan, and when Bill Gallagher said he was writing a new character for ‘The Paradise’ and had me in mind for the role, I knew I wanted to play Tom Weston before I’d even read a word of the script.

— Ben Daniels

I like writing on piano and a computer, and a lot of ‘Plans’ came out of samples and vocal lines.

— Ben Gibbard

As a songwriter, I’m not necessarily writing about myself or my life.

— Ben Gibbard

When I started writing at 18 or 19, I had a fear of anything autobiographical, but I’ve come to realise that my writing is very autobiographical at the emotional level.

— Ben Marcus

For me personally, I’m mostly focused on writing and acting right now.

— Ben Savage

In Mudcrutch we all wrote songs, and when it got to the focus on Tom and the Heartbreakers, I kept writing songs, but it wasn’t anything that was up the Heartbreakers tree, I didn’t think – and I don’t think they did, either. So I kept writing songs for the hell of it, but I didn’t want to make a record just for the sake of making a record.

— Benmont Tench

I was just writing songs because, if a song shows up, you’ve gotta write it. I didn’t know what to do with them. I didn’t have any faith in my voice.

— Benmont Tench

It sounds odd, but I was a singer and started writing songs, and I didn’t have anything in mind. Maybe it crossed my mind that it would be cool to have a hit record and a career, but that was so out of reach that I don’t think I thought about it that much.

— Bill Medley

When you’re a songwriter and you click with someone, you tend to want to keep writing with that person.

— Billy Sherwood

Louis Braille created the code of raised dots for reading and writing that bears his name and brings literacy, independence, and productivity to the blind.

— Bob Ney

But, if there’s any aspect of my career that needs attention, it’s writing.

— Bobby McFerrin

Writing is so wrapped up in ego, but with math one is just trying to get it right, although you’re often wrong. I think math helped me become a good critic of myself, come at writing a little less personally.

— Bonnie Jo Campbell

I think by writing about a place with great specificity, you manage to make it universal.

— Bonnie Jo Campbell

I have a group of cafes and coffee shops that I go to regularly. They usually have an area where I can plug in my computer and have a corner seat where I can do a couple hours of writing or whatever, even the noise of the surrounding people walking by. Those things are the things that stimulate me into writing.

— Bong Joon-ho

People have said, ‘Why don’t you make your own company like Chan-wook Park has his own company,’ but my head is full of writing and directing and I don’t feel like I want to run a company. That’s not really within my personality as well.

— Bong Joon-ho

One could see that what you are writing was that today’s meeting with President Bill Clinton was going to be a disaster. Now, for the first time, I can tell you that you are a disaster.

— Boris Yeltsin

I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like child stringing beads in kindergarten, – happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.

— Brenda Ueland

Even if I knew for certain that I would never have anything published again, and would never make another cent from it, I would still keep on writing.

— Brenda Ueland

One thing about writing ‘The Sarah Silverman Program’ was the concern that I don’t give myself the best story, you know what I mean?

— Brian Posehn

I tend to be more of a novel writer. In fact, some of my novels started out as short stories, and I just got carried away! I think some of my best writing is in the short story form, but novels come more naturally to me.

— Bruce Coville

Writing music is sort of my hobby, but it’s been falling off more and more. Doing comic books takes up my entire life.

— Bryan Lee O’Malley

I start with an idea that is no more than a paragraph long, and expand it slowly into an outline. But I’m always surprised by the directions things take when I actually start writing.

— Barry Schwartz

You could take away the singing, and I am fine. But don’t take away my gift of writing. It is the best way I can relate and express what I am feeling and what I am going through.

— BeBe Winans

I write the occasional entry for the ‘Times’ Theatre blog, especially when I’m in London and seeing two shows a day, but I don’t tweet. I don’t want to have to express my opinion in 140 characters. That’s like writing haiku. You need a certain amount of legroom to review a play properly.

— Ben Brantley

For me, writing is like being taken on a walk by a footnote: It’s amazing where you end up.

— Ben Schott

Writing ‘Schottenfreude’ has reinforced the fact that there are few, if any, emotions that have not been experienced, and analyzed, by some of the world’s greatest writers.

— Ben Schott

The idea that I am cynical because I’m writing the books that I write is a bit like someone saying, ‘What, you’ve done a second album? Oh, I see, cashing in on your first album, are you?’ But I’m a musician! It’s sort of what I do.

— Ben Schott

As soon as I started writing the first batch, I had a vision. I saw me on stage playing a certain type of music. I want to take these blues melodies over aggressive guitars. I heard the sound I wanted to make. I knew what I wanted to do. It wasn’t ever there before.

— Benjamin Booker

In 2012, I started writing songs – not for the world to hear, but for certain people I needed to talk to. My family, we were not big communicators. I had a hard time talking to people in general.

— Benjamin Booker

Even when I interviewed bands, it was about asking them about writing songs, so it was more for me than anybody else.

— Benjamin Booker

I learned to embrace my individuality, and if that meant writing a song on one chord over and over again, then that’s what I do.

— Beth Orton

My mom’s a concert pianist, so she started teaching me when I was around seven. When I was eight, I started writing my own songs, and kinda started putting piano and singing together. But I’m trained classically, which is a big influence on me, I think.

— Birdy

Completing any writing project, particularly a novel, is a daunting prospect. Many people become frozen by the prospect. Others keep waiting for the right time. Some wait for the spark of inspiration. Even experienced writers find it is easier to do anything other than actually write.

— Bob Mayer

If I had taken a doctoral degree, it would have stifled any writing capacity.

— Barbara W. Tuchman

Writing can be a very solitary profession, and when deadlines are looming, it’s tempting to glue myself to my desk, but I try to make sure I get out a few times a month with friends just so I don’t forget what it means to be social.

— Becca Fitzpatrick

To me, there’s no point in writing merely to entertain.

— Bebe Moore Campbell

There’s a lot of writing in television that can sound like it’s taken out of a package, and the way to get around that is to not allow yourself to deliver it that way.

— Ben Bass

I love writing plays because they are living, fluid things that are energised by the producer, designers, musicians, actors and audience.

— Berlie Doherty

I love writing picture books and story books because of the exciting, visual life that artists and illustrators give to them. And most of all, I love writing novels because of the inner, emotional journeys that they take me on. Hopefully, the reader comes with me!

— Berlie Doherty

My theory is that everything an actor does, from the way he looks at his watch to the way he moves across the stage, is in the service of advancing a story, and in that sense, it’s all writing. In that sense we, while acting, write.

— Bernard Sahlins

With my trumpet voice, I love gritty, plunger, growly sounds. But vocally, I love Anita O’Day – a raspier but definitely softer sound. Part of the fun has been finding vehicles or writing for both of those sounds.

— Bria Skonberg

I think when I start out writing, I always try to write the version of the movie that I want to go see. I don’t mean it in a way that ignores the audience, but I really set out to make a movie that I want to see and that, hopefully, other people will want to go see it. So whatever’s amusing to me, I guess, I throw it all in there.

— Brian Helgeland

Now, when I was in the Army, writing was my hobby.

— Brian Lumley

I was thinking about doing another film at the same time, which was the sequel to Basic Instinct and I just had a feeling that wasn’t going to happen. You know, I just kind of read the writing on the wall.

— Bruce Greenwood

When I was writing ‘Withnail,’ I was so busted flat that I had one lightbulb that I would carry around the house with me. I mean, really. No furniture, no money, and I was hoping to be an actor, but I could never get a job.

— Bruce Robinson

I always value my large kitchen because it was better to do everything there, you wash up, you do everything, rather than messing up another room and I pop my typewriter just next to it. So I still write now but I was doing more writing when the children were younger.

— Buchi Emecheta

I’ve been writing songs all along, and since moving to Nashville in the late-’80s, I’d begun writing something like 15-20 songs a year, instead of the typical three or four in previous years.

— Bernie Leadon

A close girlfriend of mine and I have been writing and playing together for years and decided to make it official, so we formed a band called ‘Everly.’

— Bethany Joy Lenz

I’ve written poetry since I was a kid. As the years went on, I got into writing stories and screenplays, but I always, always kept up with poetry as well.

— Blake Jenner

I continue to enjoy looking for stories, and trying to do the best job I can reporting and writing them.

— Bob Greene

I can come off as pretty arrogant, but it’s because I know I’m right. I’m very, very good at writing protocols. I’ve accomplished more working on my own than I ever did as part of a team.

— Bram Cohen

I ended up on ‘Heroes’ because I auditioned for the part like everybody else, but the writers were writing the role of Daphne, which was originally called Joy.

— Brea Grant

Well, everything surprises me about the writing process because illustrating comes much more naturally to me than writing does.

— Brian Selznick

I did a lot of writing for a lot of different kinds of bands that I was in and out of during those five years and that left me with a little body of songs that I liked better when I played alone, so I ended up going out solo and very soon made my first album.

— Bruce Cockburn

The second half of the ’60s really was a kind of learning period, in terms of writing, for me.

— Bruce Cockburn

Every single line on the Oscar show is negotiated. Unless you’ve been there, you have no idea how it is put together. It’s like nothing else on earth. I’m writing a book about it, but I have to throw in my sexual escapades to make sure it sells.

— Bruce Vilanch

Writing fiction, there are no limits to what you write as long as it increases the value of the paper you are writing on.

— Buddy Ebsen

I have no writing habit. I work when I feel like it, and I work when I have to – mostly the latter.

— Barbara Mertz

The stories are there first, and they come from my experiences wandering around in the world. They will resonate into bigger things, forces sweeping the planet, themes and archetypes, but I’m not smart enough to have lucid integration of all that in my head as I’m writing.

— Bob Shacochis

I consider myself a writer who writes about American expatriates. And if I have any overt cause as a writer besides writing the best prose I can, it’s to try to make Americans have a more visceral feeling about how America impacts everybody in the world.

— Bob Shacochis

I thought if I really wanted to be serious about writing, I should make my own desk.

— Brad Barkley

Writing is like a ‘lust,’ or like ‘scratching when you itch.’ Writing comes as a result of a very strong impulse, and when it does come, I, for one, must get it out.

— C. S. Lewis

When you’re writing, you’re on your own, and I like to work as a team.

— Carine Roitfeld

Everybody’s idea of a great book is different, of course. For me it’s one that makes my jaw drop on every page, the writing is so original.

— Carl Hiaasen

When I was writing pretty poor poetry, this girl with midnight black hair told me to go on.

— Carl Sandburg

Writing requires the concentration of the writer, demands that nothing else be done except that.

— Carlos Fuentes

It was writing about music for NPR – connecting with music fans and experiencing a sense of community – that made me want to write songs again. I began to feel I was in my head too much about music, too analytical.

— Carrie Brownstein

I have a mess in my head sometimes, and there’s something very satisfying about putting it into words. Certainly it’s not something that you’re in charge of, necessarily, but writing about it, putting it into your words, can be a very powerful experience.

— Carrie Fisher

I feel like when I’m on stage, when I’m writing songs, singing songs, I’m in the studio, I’m shooting videos, I kind of get to become this character, and I can make that whatever I want to make that.

— Carrie Underwood

If I had a plot that was all set in advance, why would I want go through the agony of writing the novel? A novel is a kind of exploration and discovery, for me at any rate.

— Chaim Potok

I kept writing not because I felt I was so good, but because I felt they were so bad, including Shakespeare, all those. The stilted formalism, like chewing cardboard.

— Charles Bukowski

Somebody once asked me what my theory of life was, and I said, ‘Don’t try.’ That fits the writing, too. I don’t try I just type.

— Charles Bukowski

When I say that basically writing is a hard hustle, I don’t mean that it is a bad life, if one can get away with it. It’s the miracle of miracles to make a living by the typer.

— Charles Bukowski

Other people are talking about writing books about my life, or about some of the things I’ve done. I find it strange, but I also feel it’s my life and my story, and I guess I better be the one to get it on paper the way it actually happened.

— Chris Kyle

Portland in particular is a cheap enough place to live that you can still develop your passion – painting, writing, music. People seem less status-conscious. Even wealthy people buy second-hand clothes and look a little bit homeless.

— Chuck Palahniuk

While writing, I tend to repeat the same song, endlessly, for thousands of times. This helps me ignore any lyrics, and helps create a consistent mood for each book.

— Chuck Palahniuk

For me, writing is a kind of coping mechanism.

— Chuck Palahniuk

I dread the promotion part of my job. It’s agony, especially compared to the private, at-home joy of writing. But being a grown-up means doing every part of the larger task.

— Chuck Palahniuk

A big reason why I started writing is I felt that fiction had stopped evolving. All other entertainments were getting better, constantly, as technology allowed. Movies. Video games. Music.

— Chuck Palahniuk

My teacher Tom Spanbauer, the man who got me started writing in his workshop, used to say: ‘Writers write because they weren’t invited to a party.’ That always struck so true, and people always nod their heads when they hear that. Especially writers.

— Chuck Palahniuk

My only writing ritual is to shave my head bald between writing the first and second drafts of a book. If I can throw away all my hair, then I have the freedom to trash any part of the book on the next rewrite.

— Chuck Palahniuk

Once I start writing, I can’t stop.

— Chuck Palahniuk

Your life isn’t about doing one perfect ‘thing’ and then falling down dead. It’s more like going to church or writing a book. You do it over and over, always trying to be a little bit better. Then you die.

— Chuck Palahniuk

It seems that so much writing is being done in the nineteenth-century model, where every connection has to be thoroughly explained.

— Chuck Palahniuk

I like to oversee what I do, so I have a hand in writing my songs. I also have people there to help me with my vision.

— Ciara

I discovered Orson Welles in college my freshman English professor screened ‘Citizen Kane’ for us, and I wound up writing a 20-page term paper on it.

— Claire Danes

I discovered Christopher Isherwood in college. His writing style is so direct, warm, and inclusive.

— Claire Danes

But just as they did in Philadelphia when they were writing the constitution, sooner or later, you’ve got to compromise. You’ve got to start making the compromises that arrive at a consensus and move the country forward.

— Colin Powell

The one recurring theme in my writing, and in my life in general, is confusion. The fact that anytime you think you really know something, you’re going to find out you’re wrong – that is the rule. The moments where you think you have something figured out, those are the exceptions.

— Conor Oberst

When I try to explain to people the big influences in my life, or at least when I first started, the most important ones were my friends who were also writing songs and were typically four or five years older than me.

— Conor Oberst

My first semester, I got a D in creative writing.

— Conrad Hall

I was very happy sitting alone at a dining room table, writing a script.

— Conrad Hall

With ‘Seven Deadly Sins,’ there was a lot of personal stuff in there that I didn’t even realize I’d been carrying around for awhile. And a lot of guilt involved, a lot of emotion, a lot of depression. Once I was done writing that book, I was able to really let go of that stuff.

— Corey Taylor

I write almost all my songs on an acoustic guitar, even if they turn into rock songs, hard rock songs, metal songs, heavy metal songs, really heavy songs… I love writing on an acoustic because I can hear what every string is doing the vibrations haven’t been combined in a collision of distortion or effects yet.

— Corey Taylor

The process of writing a book has given me a whole new reverence for writers. Mechanically, it is a brutal process emotionally, it’s incredibly healing.

— Cory Booker

The process of writing ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ entailed the developing a new theory. My colleagues, students and I have been improving that theory, and adding others to it, since that time.

— Clayton Christensen

I’m writing a review of three books on feminism and science, and it’s about social constructionism. So I would say I’m a social constructionist, whatever that means.

— Clifford Geertz

I’ve often been accused of making anthropology into literature, but anthropology is also field research. Writing is central to it.

— Clifford Geertz

Good authors, too, who once knew better words now only use four-letter words writing prose… anything goes.

— Cole Porter

Mathematicians have been hiding and writing messages in the genetic code for a long time, but it’s clear they were mathematicians and not biologists because, if you write long messages with the code that the mathematicians developed, it would more than likely lead to new proteins being synthesized with unknown functions.

— Craig Venter

I like the story writing process. I usually use someone who has been trained for structure to take the story that I actually want, place those elements in the right places.

— Curtis Jackson

Writing a memoir is such a private, personal experience that it’s intimidating to think of adapting it for television.

— Caitlin Doughty

What interests me is what you might call vernacular writing, writing that connects you to a place.

— Calvin Trillin

When you’re writing, you are robbed of your delivery.

— Calvin Trillin

I would like to be known for honest, relatable writing and stories that that are real. There’s just this shift I think is happening in a lot of society right now where being your most real self, however embarrassing or vulnerable or weird that is, is the coolest. I feel like that’s what Lena Dunham’s about and Amy Schumer’s about.

— Cam

I’m always writing. A friend of mine once said, ‘You avoid re-writing by writing.’ Which is kind of a good point, because re-writing seems to be mostly about craft, and writing is just, like, getting out your passion on a piece of paper.

— Cameron Crowe

I had a moment where I left journalism, and I started getting interested in this issue and writing about it, where I felt there was a right side and a wrong side around a lot of these issues relating to education.

— Campbell Brown

I love to read. And right now I’m on my last hundred pages of ‘The Corrections’ by Jonathan Franzen, and I really enjoyed it. His writing is just – he’s one of those writers where you just go, ‘There are people just meant to be novel writers.’

— Candice Accola

Well I’ve been writing books. So that, by its nature, is kind of a solitary occupation. And from time to time I have research help, but mostly I’ve done those completely on my own.

— Caroline Kennedy

Writing is really hard, and it’s really a skill.

— Caroline Leavitt

I had a writing professor at Brandeis who told me I’d never make it – and when I sold my first novel a few years later, I sent him a copy!

— Caroline Leavitt

My dirty little secret is I don’t drive at all, though I have my license and I renew it every five years. I’m phobic. I keep worrying if I drive, I’ll end up killing someone. I hoped that by writing about a car crash, I might understand and heal this phobia, but I didn’t! I’m still phobic.

— Caroline Leavitt

The problem with being a writer/director: unless you’re really disciplined, you start adding projects, and you have to make time to make them. Because you have to write them… no one else is writing them for me.

— Cary Fukunaga

Writing, for me, is an inherent part of understanding the material on a deeper level.

— Cary Fukunaga

I eventually want to do writing on all the films, but not necessarily to be the writer. Writing is a painful, painful thing it really is.

— Cary Fukunaga

I took a clown class at NYU – that’s where I met June Diane Raphael, my writing partner and best friend.

— Casey Wilson

The script for ‘Thirteen’ is tight, and not because of the now-famous six day writing spree, but more because it started out as 15 pages longer.

— Catherine Hardwicke

If I’m writing strictly for others, how does that show what I’m experiencing or thinking? I just got to a point where I realized I could be as personal as I wanted to be and people could relate to those situations if they so choose.

— Chantal Kreviazuk

The flattery is nice, but awards don’t add up to writing quality songs.

— Chantal Kreviazuk

I’m not writing just about melancholy stuff anymore, I made a point to cover a wide range of emotions.

— Chantal Kreviazuk

I think it’s important to really press on with the song writing and just go with it. There’s no code, there’s no craft… it’s just let yourself shine through your music. If it’s meant to be loved and heard, it’ll happen.

— Chantal Kreviazuk

I started writing diaries, and mine were horrible. Oh, the monotony. Oh, the angst. I said, ‘I don’t want anyone to find these!’ I destroyed them.

— Charlotte Rampling

Dissolving differences has always been an important motive for my writing, right from ‘The Mistress of Spices.’

— Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

I started writing after the death of my grandfather – memories, poems, etc. It was very personal for years I did not share my writing with anyone.

— Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Each book is a separate entity for me. When I’m writing it, I enter its world and inhabit its vocabulary. I forget, as it were, that I ever wrote anything else.

— Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

David Mamet was great to work with. He was everything that I thought he would be as a director. He’s incredibly articulate, an easy collaborator. Extraordinarily knowledgeable about film and writing.

— Chiwetel Ejiofor

I can act… I do a little writing as well. And I’m good at typing. I’m a creative typist, actually.

— Chris Colfer

I’m so independent in writing stuff and controlling what I do. Sometimes I get calls from people asking to be in their movie, but I’m always writing or editing, and I can never get around to doing it. I’m so much more interested in my own stuff. I think I drive my agent crazy.

— Chris Lilley

When I was in school, I was always writing scripts and dressing up as characters. I’d constantly be that guy who’d get up on stage. I used to write imaginary TV shows, like soap operas, for fun.

— Chris Lilley

The goal is always just to write the best song that you can write. I mean, the process for writing a song is the process for writing a song. It’s not something I look at it as something I need to do something different.

— Chris Stapleton

We have a history in country music of writing about the darker side of things – maybe not as much in modern times, but there’s a lot of cheating and self-deprecation. We sort it out in song, in country music, as a genre.

— Chris Stapleton

At first, I see pictures of a story in my mind. Then creating the story comes from asking questions of myself. I guess you might call it the ‘what if – what then’ approach to writing and illustration.

— Chris Van Allsburg

It seems to me that not only the writing in most children’s books condescends to kids, but so does the art. I don’t want to do that.

— Chris Van Allsburg

Graffiti is linear, and it’s done with a pencil, and it’s like writing on walls.

— Cy Twombly

I always sang. I wanted to be in a band with my sister, and I was, at 11. At 12, I started writing seriously, and that was my pacifier all through high school – that and painting.

— Cyndi Lauper

Writing’s all I know. Frankly, I’ve never been able to do anything else.

— Christopher Buckley

I think people assumed because of my last name that I was a real right-winger. And if you cared to look at my writing, you would be hard pressed to deduce that I’m an ideological right-winger.

— Christopher Buckley

I sometimes think that, since I started writing biographies, I’ve had more of a life in books than I have had in my real life.

— Claire Tomalin

After writing a page, Hemingway would let it float to the ground. He never crumpled pages – he believed that if you crumpled them, you’d be insane in a year.

— Clive Owen

While I was a voracious movie-goer as a boy, I never put writing and films together in my mind.

— Christopher McQuarrie

I was writing from the time I was 12 years old, but I originally wanted to be a novelist.

— Christopher McQuarrie

Directing my own writing, I see that I talk way too much, and everything can happen much sooner, with much less said about it.

— Christopher McQuarrie

I’ve rewritten other films and watched my writing be mutilated, but luckily, it’s been mutilated anonymously.

— Christopher McQuarrie

Whenever I’m on tour and I’m in my hotel room and I’m writing and playing my guitar, I go in the bathroom and I record whatever I’m writing in there. It’s just what I love to do.

— Colbie Caillat

Well, I started writing songs about three years ago when I learned to play the guitar, but I’ve been singing since I was eleven.

— Colbie Caillat

When I was writing ‘You Suck,’ in 2006, I constructed the diction of the book’s narrator, perky Goth girl Abby Normal, from what I read on Goth blog sites.

— Christopher Moore

One thing that’s really delightful is my books tend to attract people who are funny, so I get the benefit of people writing me with things that crack me up.

— Christopher Moore

I don’t read reviews if I know in advance they’re negative, because I can’t have my confidence undermined when I’m writing.

— Christopher Moore

I like writing flawed women, and being one, it’s something I feel I can write with some veracity and authority.

— Callie Khouri

I never listen to music when I am writing. It would be impossible. I listen to Bach in the mornings, mostly choral music also some Handel, mostly songs and arias I like Schubert’s and Beethoven’s chamber music and Sibelius’ symphonies for opera, I listen to Mozart and in recent years Wagner.

— Colm Toibin

Anyone who works in the arts knows, if you’re writing a novel or a play or anything, you have to be ready for someone to say, ‘Your time is up.’

— Colm Toibin

In Ireland, novels and plays still have a strange force. The writing of fiction and the creation of theatrical images can affect life there more powerfully and stealthily than speeches, or even legislation. Imagined worlds can lodge deeply in the private sphere, dislodging much else, especially when the public sphere is fragile.

— Colm Toibin

All writing is a form of manipulation, of course, but you realize that a plain sentence can actually do so much.

— Colm Toibin

Suffering is too strong a word, but writing is serious work. I pull the stuff up from me – it’s not as if it’s a pleasure.

— Colm Toibin

I realised that I had always been writing things that other people wanted me to write and not what I really wanted to write, so I felt like I was losing my way.

— Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I’m a voracious reader, and I like to explore all sorts of writing without prejudice and without paying any attention to labels, conventions or silly critical fads.

— Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Every time I think I know what’s right and wrong, I end up being wrong. All I want to do is explore. I want to see what people would do. I say, ‘What would this person do in this situation?’ and I write it down. I’m not writing manifestos of my political views.

— Carolyn Chute

When I’m not writing, I do a lot of research reading on the shape of civilization. Fiction can be a lot of different things… but I feel like it’s my job to write about the way things are.

— Carolyn Chute

I am a person who can’t teach writing or make a living in any public way, as I get confused when interrupted or overstimulated. In a classroom or crowded room, I all but blank out. So my only income is from novels.

— Carolyn Chute

People who work in factories or in the woods or maybe a dairy farm – for years, I’ve been fascinated with people like that. No pretensions. They just live their lives. I found them beautiful. They were all I seemed to be interested in writing about.

— Carolyn Chute

And I ride horses, swim, do a lot of reading, writing.

— Casper Van Dien

Even if I’m writing music, it’s with a lyric in mind, to communicate some kind of feeling.

— Cass McCombs

In ‘Pictures from an Institution,’ Randall Jarrell was able to transcend the academic novel by simply ignoring it, writing a comedy with no plot at all beyond his own pleasure in language and humanity itself.

— Cathleen Schine

My mother had always taught me to write about my feelings instead of sharing really personal things with others, so I spent many evenings writing in my diary, eating everything in the kitchen and waiting for Mr. Wrong to call.

— Cathy Guisewite

I write my novels longhand. I love the feeling of writing I love to see pen on paper. It feels more creative than typing, and it’s a more visual process for me – I can picture the entire scene in my head and am merely writing what I see.

— Cecelia Ahern

I went to Colby College in Waterville, ME and did picture it when I was writing ‘Cum Laude.’ So many of the physical details were included, like the loop where people jogged. The story of the chapel is also borrowed from Colby… but the students and cast of characters are fictional.

— Cecily von Ziegesar

To my parents, writing seemed precarious and not the best idea.

— Chad Harbach

When you are writing a song for something else, if you are doing something for money, I always think that’s bad luck.

— Chad Kroeger

We always feel pretty creative as far as writing songs. We write them together we just get in a room, or on occasion in Flea’s garage. We just sort of improvise, like jazz musicians.

— Chad Smith

Part of writing a novel is being willing to leap into the blackness. You have very little idea, really, of what’s going to happen. You have a broad sense, maybe, but it’s this rash leap.

— Chang-Rae Lee

Unlike F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Wolfe, I don’t like proper dress while working. I like writing in pajama-like clothing, which eases and relaxes me and allows me to connect with the decidedly improper.

— Chang-Rae Lee

I don’t listen to music while writing it seems to me I’m trying to make my own kind of music, and to have anything else going on is just noisy interference.

— Chang-Rae Lee

Writing is a little athletic for me. I get worked up a little bit when I do it. So I guess I’m a little bit like that composer conducting. There are a lot of things that go into what I do, but I think athletics really sort of shaped my ethic.

— Chris Carter

If you’re writing about angry people, you use the language of anger. If you’re writing about desperate people, you use the language of desperation.

— Chris Crutcher

My early life had a lot to do with my origins as a writer, but I didn’t get into doing any writing at all until I was about 35 years old.

— Chris Crutcher

To me, music shouldn’t be ego-driven. When you go out on stage and play songs, it is. But when you’re sitting in a room, writing songs, it’s a completely different process. It’s a completely different place. It’s a creative place, a musical place. It has nothing to do with who likes what.

— Chris Cornell

I’ve written a lot of books now I’ve been published for over 30 years. I hope with every book I learn something new, and with every new novel I try to improve the process of writing.

— Charlaine Harris

I think I’m in a really nice position, where I’m sure I could do another show if I wanted to do one, but right now the main thing in my mind is writing songs.

— Chris Isaak

I have a journalism degree, but I’d rather be the person who is being written about rather than the person who is writing.

— Chris Jericho

We never let go. Ever. Even with punctuation. It’s frightening. I can’t see anyone from any record company ever writing an email to Neil and not getting it back, with corrections.

— Chris Lowe

You can get too bogged down in technology and you can sort of forget what it is you were trying to do. And with the Pet Shop Boys it’s primarily about the songs, it’s about song writing.

— Chris Lowe

I was already writing about the idea of a ‘multiverse’ in the 1970s, though I might have called it the ‘pluriverse.’ How was I to know it would turn out to be the standard model? Actually, I consider myself an enlightenment fossil.

— Charles Jencks

I have always loved science, but I have always loved the arts – drawing, painting and, yes, writing – more.

— Charles M. Blow

Writing for me is not a premeditated act. It just happens – characters keep coming out of nowhere and doing things I never expected them to do. The most persistent and most productive of these has been Paul Christopher, whom I didn’t expect to see again after he appeared in ‘The Miernik Dossier.’

— Charles McCarry

Writing has taught me a lot – though far from everything – about writing, so as time has passed, it has become more pleasurable if not easier. I’ve done other things in life, but writing is by a factor of 10 the most difficult among them. And, of course, you never achieve what you set out to achieve, so you must keep on trying to do better.

— Charles McCarry

I don’t feel when I’m writing that I’m drawing from any other writer, but of course I must be. The writers I’ve admired have been not so very different from myself: Evelyn Waugh, for example, that kind of crystalline prose. And I’ve always admired W. Somerset Maugham more than any other writer.

— Charles McCarry

I’ve consciously tried not to romanticize anything, especially not intelligence work. I’ve always said that I’ve been writing a series of episodic, naturalistic novels. The people just happen to be spies, politicians, civil servants.

— Charles McCarry

I’m trying my hand at writing. I’m writing a couple of projects for HBO, a half hour comedy and a miniseries.

— Charles S. Dutton

I like writing characters that seem different from one another. So if you were to hypothetically look at a bunch of lines from books I’ve written, just out of context, hopefully you would be able to determine who said what. That’s the goal, anyway. I try to strongly differentiate through dialogue.

— Charles Soule

I think the feeling was that ‘Venture Brothers’ really has something to sell in terms of a feature. ‘Aqua Teen’ is an element minute cartoon, and its very subversive and non sequitur and weird. We were writing the one show where we were constantly like, ‘God, I wish we had another hour to tell this story.’ It seemed like a natural fit.

— Christopher McCulloch

In the fall of 1989, I was writing 600-word columns at the ‘Herald.’ My heart always was in long-form narrative writing, though. It’s what I cut my teeth on at the ‘Boston Phoenix.’

— Charlie Pierce

The essays are different because ultimately it’s things I’m interested in, and I’m really just writing about myself and using those subjects as a prism.

— Chuck Klosterman

Book writing is a little different because, in my case, my editor is a year younger than me and basically has the same sensibility as me.

— Chuck Klosterman

I think of it as the lasagna approach to writing because I’m always adding layers. I’ll sometimes do it layer by layer, with dialogue, attribution, action, objects in the scene, setting… It can be sometimes that delineated.

— Chelsea Cain

I was pregnant with my daughter when I started writing my first thriller, so I guess you could blame hormones.

— Chelsea Cain

As I was writing, I realised I wasn’t sufficiently extrovert to gather enough interesting souls with tall tales around me. I was no Louis Theroux. But neither was I interested in exploring my inner life in public, in the manner of a Jonathan Raban.

— Clive Sinclair

The amount of writing that people do online is astonishing, and historically unprecedented.

— Clive Thompson

My only qualifications to be an actor were that I’m daring, and I’m a quick learner. I’ve always learnt by watching what other people do. It’s the same with my writing. I write what I know. Structurally, I write in a very undisciplined way.

— Colman Domingo

I would wake up really early and go into the hotel bathroom, put a towel over the toilet, and put my laptop there. I’d put my headphones on and just write. And so now when I do writing sessions, and I am stuck on a part, or I can’t figure out a chorus, I’m just like, ‘Give me a second,’ and I’ll go to that bathroom.

— Camila Cabello

I’ve had writing sessions with people, but I’ve never had one where you’re just there, and you start making a song, and then it’s too good to be true that something really cool will come out of this.

— Camila Cabello

Living composers writing for big band are very few and far between. There are not a lot of them, and I have a talent for doing it. I am zeroing in on what I do best.

— Carla Bley

I love writing and do not know why it is considered such a difficult, agonizing profession.

— Caroline B. Cooney

If you write a story based on a real person, you’re trapped by the details of the real person and his life. It gets in the way of writing your own story.

— Caroline B. Cooney

I was curious about experimenting with different colors – kind of like having an expanded orchestra. Suddenly, instead of just writing for strings, you can add bassoon and oboe and brass. I like these extreme differences in sounds right next to each other.

— Caroline Shaw

I began writing poems when I was about eight, with a heavy assist from my mother. She read me Arthur Waley’s translations and Whitman and Robinson Jeffers, who have been lifelong influences on me. My father read Keats to me, and then he read more Keats while I was lying on the sofa struggling with asthma.

— Carolyn Kizer

When aspiring writers ask me about how they should target their writing, I tell them to pay no attention to that kind of thing. It will restrict you. You will end up falling into stereotypes in an effort to tailor your work toward a perceived genre category.

— Carrie Vaughn

What’s interesting to me is how many vampire/urban fantasy authors are writing young adult series as well, often set in the same world as their adult books, but focused on a younger audience.

— Carrie Vaughn

All writing and publishing is very difficult, regardless of genre. There are going to be obstacles no matter what.

— Carrie Vaughn

Don’t hold back in your writing. Take risks. Go ahead and tackle that crazy idea that you think will never fly, because that may be the one that makes you stand out from the crowd. Keep pushing the envelope.

— Carrie Vaughn

I’ve been doing some writing, which I find very cathartic and fun.

— Cary Elwes

People ask me all the time which I would prefer doing more, but I honestly can’t say. When I’m filming, I’m like, ‘No, this is my favorite,’ and when I’m writing music and recording and performing, it’s like, ‘This is definitely it.’

— Cassie Steele

I came from a very musical family, so I grew up singing karaoke with the family. My family said ‘do this’ and brought me to singing lessons. I had always been writing poems and songs.

— Cassie Steele

I’ve heard rumors that the Petersons are writing a book. It will be very interesting to see what they have to say, but I don’t know anything about the Rochas.

— Catherine Crier

I definitely have a preference for writing anti-heroes and bad guys, especially when they have motivations that the average ‘good’ person can understand and get behind.

— Cullen Bunn

I’ve been writing stories, in one form or another, since I was a kid.

— Cullen Bunn

I’ve always been ambidextrous, writing short stories and novels, and I pretty much have been writing a novel and a handful of short stories every year since ’91.

— Catherine Ryan Hyde

I really only have been seriously writing, finishing things and publishing things since January ’91.

— Catherine Ryan Hyde

I try to hurt myself, to sprain something, writing every novel and story, because I’m stretching for something new and difficult that I haven’t done before.

— Catherynne M. Valente

I feel that if you made your writing too contrived to meet the market, it wouldn’t be any good.

— Cathy Marie Buchanan

While writing ‘Cold Mountain,’ I held maps of two geographies, two worlds, in my mind as I wrote. One was an early map of North Carolina. Overlaying it, though, was an imagined map of the landscape Jack travels in the southern Appalachian folktales. He’s much the same Jack who climbs the beanstalk, vulnerable and clever and opportunistic.

— Charles Frazier

Writing doesn’t come real easy to me. I couldn’t write a novel in a year. It wouldn’t be readable. I don’t let an editor even look at it until the second year, because it would just scare them. I just have to trust that all these scraps and dead-ends will find a way.

— Charles Frazier

These matters having been arranged, I had a temporary awning erected near the river, and was for three or four days busily employed writing an account of our journey for the Governor’s information.

— Charles Sturt

Well I don’t feel sectarian against sparseness, although I sometimes get a little chippy about this. I resent the way that a certain notion of parsimony has become the norm for skilful literary writing.

— China Mieville

There is no living African writer who has not had to, or will not have to, contend with Achebe’s work. We are either resisting him – stylistically, politically, or culturally – or we are writing toward him.

— Chris Abani

Like most writers, I find the Web is a wonderful distraction. Who doesn’t need that last minute research before writing?

— Chris Abani

No one can teach writing, but classes may stimulate the urge to write. If you are born a writer, you will inevitably and helplessly write. A born writer has self-knowledge. Read, read, read. And if you are a fiction writer, don’t confine yourself to reading fiction. Every writer is first a wide reader.

— Cynthia Ozick

I don’t like to read contemporary fiction while writing – I need a sense of isolation, a kind of silence, and I don’t want a jumble of other people’s voices or visions getting in my way. Nineteenth-century voices don’t create static in that silence.

— Cynthia Ozick

Sometimes writing has to be forced. In starting out, the shape and timbre and texture of what is to come is an uncertain chimera shimmering from behind a veil. You must not wait, loiter, dilly-dally. You must force your way painfully through.

— Cynthia Ozick

My father read poetry to me, encouraged me to memorize poems. But the writing of it was quite a different thing.

— C. K. Williams

I support the rights of non-humans wholeheartedly with my voice, my money, my presence, my writing and any other way I can.

— Cecilia Dart-Thornton

I think, basically, I am an actor. Sometimes I’m an actor who’s writing and sometimes an actor who’s directing, but I think if I’m forced to fill out a form for my tax return, ‘actor’ is the first thing I write down.

— Chris Eigeman

Being an actor started me writing, and that led to directing.

— Chris Eigeman

I’m always really comfortable writing strong, smart ladies. That’s kind of my bailiwick.

— Chris Roberson

I did not think that I was angry, but clearly anger was reflected in my writing. I did not think that I had been affected emotionally, but it was clear from my writing that I was still very emotional about the trial some six months after it ended.

— Christopher Darden

I began writing in the 4th grade. As a matter of fact, I produced a play for the entire school. It was about Leif Ericson and the discovery of America.

— Christopher Darden

I think that as I continue to write, my writing I hope will become more controversial and more provocative.

— Christopher Darden

It did not prepare me for writing or ‘Power of Attorney.’ However, what it did is that it forced me out of the DA’s office. I stopped getting that county check.

— Christopher Darden

It’s much like writing a screenplay with someone else and that’s how we view it, I think.

— Christopher Darden

I’m a fairly ascetic person. And I do most of my writing at night. You don’t get distracted, your brain goes into what you are writing about, into the world you’re writing about, rather than into the world you’re in.

— Caleb Carr

I was haunted by a bear attack that happened in Algonquin Park in 1991. The problem was that I don’t believe in ghosts, so that ruled out an exorcism. My other choice was to start writing.

— Claire Cameron

I’m very rigid about my schedule. I sit down at 8 A.M., and the Internet blocker goes on. My standard time is 120 minutes. I’m a compulsive writer, so it reminds me to stop writing… If I write more than that, I turn into an ogre for my kids.

— Claire Cameron

I think in the old days, films really went for the shock, with the blood and guts, but movies are getting better. The writing and directing have improved a lot, because the audience demands it.

— Claudia Christian

Well, I’ve always been a character actor, you know, and you always get your share of character actors who are bad guys. So it never surprises me. And if it’s good writing, you can find your way into the part well enough.

— Colm Meaney

A good comedy’s very hard to make, so good comic writing I really enjoy.

— Colm Meaney

I don’t know why I started writing. I don’t know why anybody does it. Maybe they’re bored, or failures at something else.

— Cormac McCarthy

What’s important with writing is that it comes from a place you absolutely love. I’m writing for film and TV. In America, they call people like me ‘multi-hyphenators.’

— Cush Jumbo

That first writing session, what Dan Hill calls a creative blind date, is always a real challenge, and you bring that back to your partner when you return to writing with them.

— Cynthia Weil

Although I like the work I’ve done in the past, I like what I’m writing now even more.

— Cynthia Weil

Even when I think I’m writing really young, they say it’s too mature.

— Cynthia Weil

I do like the research part of writing, I must admit.

— C. J. Box

I taught English and history, so my education for that really helped prepare me for writing historical fiction.

— Candace Camp

I visited England immediately after I finished writing ‘The Marrying Season,’ before any editing or revisions.

— Candace Camp

Just writing a lot doesn’t necessarily make you a better writer. You have to hear yourself as a writer, and the best way to do that is to read your writing out loud.

— Christopher Paolini

Writing in the electronic world, you imagine a sound, and then you have to go and find it. It’s not like imagining a flute and then making that sound materialize. That’s easy!

— Christopher Young

I like to erase lines between categories. Why separate cookbook writing from writing, healthy from good tasting? I want to be open to possibilities.

— Crescent Dragonwagon

I didn’t know until high school that I was interested in writing in any real way. But there was this boy that I had a crush on, and I used to tell him all the time what I felt about him. Finally he gave me a blank journal and said to write it all down – and it didn’t take me very long to realize how much I loved writing.

— Cristina Henriquez

When I moved out to Los Angeles to get some film and television work, and couldn’t get any… I became a little isolated, a little terrified, and it’s a good place to get writing, because you’re so bored. So I wrote a few screenplays, and people notice those.

— Clark Gregg

Basically, I always wanted to be an author but went through all these other jobs while getting up the nerve to finally go for it with my writing! Thank goodness it worked who knows what I might have done next?

— Claudia Gray

I’ve always looked upon the Ducks as caricature human beings. Perhaps I’ve been years writing in that middle world that J.R.R. Tolkien describes, and never knew it.

— Carl Barks

I have ADD or something. Even when I am doing something, it’s me on the computer, I’m painting and I’m writing music. I have to rotate what I’m doing every 15 minutes.

— Charlyne Yi

My writing process often begins with a question. I write down ideas and let them stew for about a year. Then, when I sit down to write, I make a list of characters and try to see how they fit.

— Cynthia Voigt

It’s so great to be able to write from home. My bread is rising downstairs, and I’m upstairs writing. I have a writing room that my grandchildren consider one of their playrooms.

— Cynthia Voigt

I think writing is a part-time career, because otherwise you get a little stale, maybe even self-indulgent, when you have to fill the hours with sentences. I don’t think, if I wrote 12 hours a day, my work would be much better.

— Cynthia Voigt

Writing is part intuition and part trial and error, but mostly it’s very hard work.

— Cheryl Strayed

When I first started writing ‘Still Missing,’ I didn’t actually realize I was writing a thriller. I thought it was more women’s fiction, but during the many years of rewrites, I kept taking out the boring parts, and then my agent informed me that I had written a thriller.

— Chevy Stevens

First, I’d become an avid reader of blogs, especially music blogs, and they seemed to be where the critical-thinking action was at, to have the kind of energy that I associate with rock writing of the 1970s or Internet e-mail discussion lists a decade ago.

— Carl Wilson

I was fooling everyone by surrounding myself with funny people. But then I put myself out there – writing my own sketches, going on stage with nobody surrounding me – and for some reason people were still laughing.

— Carly Craig

I’m never sure who I’m writing for, or who’s reading me, but I definitely see myself in conspiracy with my readers.

— Carol Anshaw

Language and written language are the only real way we have to see inside another person’s thoughts and to know what makes another person human. Without writing, we just wouldn’t have that kind of access.

— Carol Windley

It wasn’t until I started to read short stories – by people like Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant, John Updike… Eudora Welty – that I became excited about the possibilities of writing.

— Carol Windley

I can get really obsessive. I like writing many drafts, and I try not to because it is very time-consuming, especially when you’re working on a novel. But I do like to take a story and reorder it, put things in different places. This allows me to see things in a new and sometimes surprising way.

— Carol Windley

Each story presents a mystery that has to be solved in the process of writing. When I’m at work on a story, I’m completely immersed in that world and in the lives of those characters they’re utterly real to me. Then, when I’ve completed the story, it all just falls away. The whole compulsion to understand is over.

— Carol Windley

If I were to try and find a unifying emotion that kept me calm and focused while I was dancing or writing or solving a math problem, I think the one unifying thing about all those that keeps my interest is creativity.

— Catherine Asaro

Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.

— Catherine Drinker Bowen

In writing biography, fact and fiction shouldn’t be mixed. And if they are, the fictional points should be printed in red ink, the facts printed in black ink.

— Catherine Drinker Bowen

So, once I get writing I really try and put five to eight hours a day in my room with a guitar to really try and come up with stuff that feels interesting enough to me to keep it.

— Catie Curtis

It was just me in my basement honing my skills, hearing songs on the radio and trying to manipulate them and then writing over those, and I started with local artists in Boston, writing records for them.

— Clinton Sparks

I always wanted to be an independent maverick, writing plays and putting them on myself.

— Christian McKay

I get invited to do panels with other Brooklyn writers to discuss what it’s like to be a writer in Brooklyn. I expect it’s like writing in Manhattan, but there aren’t as many tourists walking very slowly in front of you when you step out for coffee. It’s like writing in Paris, but there are fewer people speaking French.

— Colson Whitehead

Writing a song is like playing a series of downs in football: Lots of rules, timing is crucial, lots of boundaries, lots of protective gear, lots of stopping and starting.

— Christine Lavin

A lot of people, myself included, are excited about blogging and stuff like that, citizen journalism, but I do remind people that no matter how excited we are, there’s no substitute for professional writing, no substitute for professional editing, and no substitute for professional fact-checking.

— Craig Newmark

To make it interesting and worth doing, writing a novel has to be a leap into the unknown. I have to be unsure if I can write it otherwise, I won’t want to.

— Charles Palliser

I always saw the best reporters as ones you hardly ever saw other than when they were back in the newsroom, writing their stories.

— Cheri Bustos

Writing a novel that crosses genres is a risk, but one well worth taking.

— Chet Williamson

Whatever is original in my writing comes from my musical apprenticeship. I look for rhythm in words. I imagine words as if they were musical chords. Often I’ll write something, read it, and find it musically unsatisfactory. There is a musical imperative in my choice of words.

— Chico Buarque

My natural tendency is to write about zombie bunnies, but one of my first writing teachers got incorporated into my writing superego, and I keep hearing his admonition to make things feel more real the weirder they get.

— Chris Adrian

You have to stick to what you love, as writing is such a lonely and depressing existence… stick to what you love and someone will hear your voice.

— Chris Terrio

I write for the love of writing. If I never published another book, I would still be writing stories.

— Christine Feehan

I’ve written under the radar for quite some time, and I always looked at editing as writing.

— Christopher Rouse

It is from him, from Beolco Ruzzante, that I’ve learned to free myself from conventional literary writing and to express myself with words that you can chew, with unusual sounds, with various techniques of rhythm and breathing, even with the rambling nonsense-speech of the ‘grammelot.’

— Dario Fo

But even writing the column for the ‘Telegraph,’ that idea of working to deadlines, which as an actor that’s not something you have to do in the same way. It’s excited me into wanting to do a bit more.

— Dan Stevens

Novels are my favorite to write and read. I do like writing personal essays, too. I’m not really a short story writer, nor do I tend to gravitate to them as a reader.

— Dani Shapiro

I like writing a joke, and I like when a joke works, and I like other comics who tell jokes.

— Dave Attell

I’m a joke comic. I tell jokes. I like writing a joke, and I like when a joke works, and I like other comics who tell jokes.

— Dave Attell

The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes.

— Dave Barry

If you remain unsettled by a piece of writing, it means you are not watching the story from the outside you’ve already taken a step towards it.

— Daniel Day-Lewis

As a kid, I was just writing scripts and taking whatever film classes I could in college.

— Damien Chazelle

I’ve never been much of a craftsman, in an educated way. But I think just the experience of writing makes the avenues I follow a little more efficient in some ways. At the same time, when you’re young, you’re a little more fearless, and there’s less of an internal critic.

— Dave Matthews

I think people get satisfaction from living for a cause that’s greater than themselves. They want to leave an imprint. By writing books, I’m trying to do that in a modest way.

— Daniel H. Pink

Writing is very good for household tasks. Because you’d rather fix a dripping tap or paint an old wall – you’d rather do almost anything than sit and write. I have to reach a point of obsession in order to write, and so I find starting a book incredibly difficult.

— Damon Galgut

I first went to India because of my interest in yoga, hoping to go to the Iyengar Centre in Pune for a while. That didn’t work out, but I ended up on a beach in Goa, writing.

— Damon Galgut

Most writers battle with periods of being blocked it’s almost an occupational hazard. But in the writing of his last and greatest novel, ‘A Passage to India,’ E. M. Forster got stuck for nine years.

— Damon Galgut

When I’m not acting, I’m writing, building an inventory of scripts. Even if they sit on the shelf, I just keep stacking them up.

— Dan Aykroyd

I feel the only way I can survive is to spend a lot of time writing songs. I have to have incredible, killer songs that also are hits, or I just don’t have a chance.

— Dan Hill

I’m an intense guy. I run 10 miles a day, which helps alleviate my intensity. Also, singing helps defuse my intensity. Playing the piano helps, and writing helps.

— Dan Hill

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but not a lonely one. When you write, your world is populated by the characters you invent, and you feel those people filling your life.

— Danielle Steel

Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane to what I was writing. Always. It’s because I’m not quite an atheist and it worries me. There’s that little bit that holds on: ‘Well, I’m almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months.’

— David Bowie

There’s an effort to reclaim the unmentionable, the unsayable, the unspeakable, all those things come into being a composer, into writing music, into searching for notes and pieces of musical information that don’t exist.

— David Bowie

It wasn’t until later when people became aware of my writing that I would hear begrudgingly, ‘You know, you really are a pretty good singer, I guess.’

— David Cassidy
Quotes About Writing

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