Search
  • Candace Coakley

Writing Wisdom

I am a lifelong collector of quotes on many topics. If you're feeling stuck in your writing life and want to get your butt into the chair (wherever that chair may be), here's an infusion of inspiration from wise writers. Let me know your favorite quotes about writing!


“I think the main thing is: Just do it. Plunge in! Being Canadian, I go swimming in icy cold lakes, and there is always that dithering moment. 'Am I really going to do this? Won’t it hurt?' And at some point, you just have to flop in there and scream. Once you’re in, keep going. You may have to crumple and toss, but we all do that. Courage! I think that is what’s most required.”

Margaret Atwood


“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”

Amelia Earhart

"How to write: Butt in chair. Start each day anywhere. Let yourself do it badly. Just take one passage at a time. Get butt back in chair." Anne Lamott

“They [writers] know they are not the source of the creations they bring into being. They only facilitate. They carry. They are the willing and skilled instruments of the gods and goddesses they serve.”

Steven Pressfield


“That's all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones.” Raymond Carver


“There's no such thing as perfect writing, just like there's no such thing as perfect despair.” Haruki Murakami


“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” Dorothy Parker


“There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” Ernest Hemingway


“Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world.” Robert McKee


“You can't edit a blank page” Nora Roberts


“Writing is the geometry of the soul.” Plato


“The ability to tell your own story, in words or images, is already a victory, already a revolt.” Rebecca Solnit


“Everyone thinks writers must know more about the inside of the human head, but that's wrong. They know less, that's why they write. Trying to find out what everyone else takes for granted.” Margaret Atwood


“Writing is like breathing, it's possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what. We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in. Julia Cameron


“A writer must be fearless. A writer has to be like a clawed animal." Candace Bushnell

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

― Maya Angelou


“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

— Anne Frank


“If we had to say what writing is, we would define it essentially as an act of courage.”

Cynthia Ozick


And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

― Sylvia Plath


“I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it.”

— Chinua Achebe


“Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.”

David Foster Wallace


“The writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

Dr. Seuss