My favourite motivators (part 1)

Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov (Photo credit: blue_paper_cranium)

I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top. ~English Professor (Name Unknown), Ohio University

Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers. ~Logan Pearsall Smith, “All Trivia,” Afterthoughts, 1931

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Ink and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer
I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener
The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. ~Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895

A prose writer gets tired of writing prose, and wants to be a poet. So he begins every line with a capital letter, and keeps on writing prose. ~Samuel McChord Crothers, “Every Man’s Natural Desire to Be Somebody Else,” The Dame School of Experience, 1920

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, Atlantic, December 1957

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~Anaïs Nin

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 would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. ~Vita Sackville-West

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O’Brien

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. ~Mark Twain

Don’t be too harsh to these poems until they’re typed. I always think typescript lends some sort of certainty: at least, if the things are bad then, they appear to be bad with conviction. ~Dylan Thomas, letter to Vernon Watkins, March 1938

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. ~Orson Scott Card

A metaphor is like a simile. ~Author Unknown

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown

A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer. ~Karl Kraus

When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. But if you have not a pen, I suppose you must scratch any way you can. ~Samuel Lover, Handy Andy, 1842

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster. ~Isaac Asimov

I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork. ~Peter De Vries

Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make. ~Truman Capote, McCall’s, November 1967

A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it. ~Hannah Arendt

It seems to me that the problem with diaries, and the reason that most of them are so boring, is that every day we vacillate between examining our hangnails and speculating on cosmic order. ~Ann Beattie, Picturing Will, 1989

For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle. ~John Cheever

No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous. ~Henry Brooks Adams, The Education of Henry Adams, 1907

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable. ~Francis Bacon

The expression “to write something down” suggests a descent of thought to the fingers whose movements immediately falsify it. ~William Gass, “Habitations of the Word,” Kenyon Review, October 1984

Be obscure clearly. ~E.B. White

Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. ~Flannery O’Connor

Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum. ~Graycie Harmon

It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page. ~Joan Baez

When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence. ~Samuel Butler

Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn’t we? ~Audra Foveo-Alba

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