Why is it that most writers describe their writing experience as one that is overwhelmingly painful – physically, mentally, spiritually? For some, writing is cathartic, for others – agony. And yet, the great ones keep coming back for more. Anyone who cultivates a craft must first feel pain before reward. Writers know this almost too well, as they attempt to put thoughts into words that are transferred to a page for the world to see.
Every writer knows both the dream and the reality of the writing process. Below you’ll find a few words from great writers on writing; words that are that are scathing, brutal, and humorously honest about what every writer goes through. The common thread in these words reveal that the secret to writing is to trust the process and to keep writing!
How do you stay motivated? What keeps you writing?
Writing Advice From Great Writers
1. “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” – Zadie Smith
2. “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” – Neil Gaiman
3. “Abandon the idea that you’re ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page a day – it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.” – John Steinbeck
4. “The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.” – Richard Wright
5. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” – Stephen King
6. “Don’t be a writer; be writing.” – William Faulkner
7. “Wait, wait, wait, wait. Don’t try to write through it, to force it. Many do, but that won’t work. Just wait, it will come.” – Toni Morrison
8. “When you write, you lay out a line of words. The line of words is a miner’s pick, a woodcarver’s gouge, a surgeon’s probe. You wield it, and it digs a path you follow. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory. Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject? You will know tomorrow, or this time next year.” – Annie Dillard
9. “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” — Harper Lee