Quotes (8)

In brief, I spend half my time trying to learn the secrets of other writers - to apply them to the expression of my own thoughts.
Shirley Ann Grau

It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
Ernest Hemingway

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
Ernest Hemingway

Don't fear making a mistake; fear failing to learn and move forward.
Pilip Humbert

Quotes (7)

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
Thomas Jefferson

Try any goddam thing you like, no matter how boringly normal or outrageous. If it works, fine. If it doesn't, toss it. Toss it even if you love it.
Stephen King

As with all other aspects of the narrative art, you will improve with practice, but practice will never make you perfect. Why should it? What fun would that be?
Stephen King

Just because you're perfectionist doesn't mean you're perfect.
Jack Nicholson 
...describing Stanley Kubrick

The moment of recognizing your own lack of talent is a flash of genius.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

You sit down and you do it, and you do it, and you do it, until you have learned to do it.
Ursula K. LeGuin
...on writing

As a writer I'm merely a journalist who has learned to write better than others.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I'm one of the world's great rewriters.
James A. Michener


The hugely popular National Novel Writing Month... write a novel in November!?


Quotes (6)

I have written - often several times - every word I have ever published.
Vladimir Nabokov

You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money's in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.
Larry Niven

Only self-educated is educated. Others are merely taught.
Erno Paasilinna

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
Blaise Pascal

Everything that is written merely to please the author is worthless.
Blaise Pascal

One extends one's limits only by exceeding them.
M. Scott Peck

Full purse makes no noise.
Juhani Peltonen

Write quickly and you will never write well. Write well, and you will soon write quickly.
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, 65 A.D.

It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.
Will Shetterly

The wastepaper basket is the writer's best friend.
Isaac Bashevis Singer

Quotes (5)

If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.
Woody Allen

Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Woody Allen

By writing much, one learns to write well. 
Robert Southey

A short story can be held in the mind all in one piece. It's less like a building than a fiendish device. Every bit of it must be cunningly made and crafted to fit together perfectly and without waste so it can perform its task with absolute precision. That purpose might be to move the reader to tears or wonder, to awaken the conscience, to console, to gladden, or to enlighten. But each short story has one chief purpose, and every sentence, phrase, and word is crafted to achieve that end. The ideal short story is like a knife - strongly made, well balanced, and with an absolute minimum of moving parts.
Michael Swanwick

The only way to learn to write is to write. 
Peggy Teeters

I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have. 
Leonardo da Vinci 
...as his last words

You never learn how to write a novel. You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing.
Gene Wolfe

It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn't advance the story. 
Frank Yerby

A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print. 
Marguerite Yourcenar

Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out.

Quotes (3)

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
Bill Cosby

What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.
Bob Dylan

Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.
Albert Einstein

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.
T. S. Eliot

Failures are inevitable. Unfortunately, in film they live for ever and they're 40 ft wide and 20 ft high.
Harrison Ford

If you don't allow yourself the possibility of writing something very, very bad, it would be hard to write something very good.
Steven Galloway

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.
Jean Giraudoux

God knows I've done enough crap in my life to grow a few flowers.
Dustin Hoffman

There's no secret about success. Did you ever know a successful man who didn't tell you about it?
Kin Hubbard

To achieve great things requires that we become great people.
Philip Humbert

It isn't easy to live after death. It takes a lifetime.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

The first condition of immortality is death.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

Quotes (4)

It is defeat that turns bone to flint; it is defeat that turns gristle to muscle; it is defeat that makes men invincible. Do not then be afraid of defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good cause.
Henry Ward Beecher

A writer should have another lifetime to see if he's appreciated.
Jorge Luis Borges

Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.
Ray Bradbury

Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the yard and shot it.
Truman Capote

Writing a book is a adventure. To begin with it is a toy and amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him out to the public.
Winston Churchill

There is a special sadness in achievement, in the knowledge that a long-desired goal has been attained at last, and that life must now be shaped toward new ends.
Arthur C. Clarke

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

I'm very proud of my flops, as much as of my successes.
Francis Ford Coppola

Quotes (2)

Nothing changes your opinion of a friend so surely as success - yours or his.
Franklin P. Jones

One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.
Helen Keller

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.
Reggie Leach

The only one who doesn't make mistakes is the one who doesn't do anything.
V. I. Lenin

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than it be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
Jack London

I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.
Steve Martin 
...star and co-writer of "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"

The story is always better than your ability to write it. My belief about this is that if you ever get to the point that you think you’ve done a story justice, you’re in the wrong business.
Robin McKinley

Quotes (1)

Put tenderness into your words when you speak, for then they will fall like seeds in the warm ground. Do not use harsh words, for they shatter. Only rocks can take hammering.
Anni Korpela

I got to thinking about the point in every freelancer's life where he has to decide whether he wants to A, have a social life, and do art in his spare time, or B, do art, and have a social life in his spare time. It has always seemed to me that if you have any hope of making a living as an artist – writer, musician, whatever – you absolutely must learn to tell people to leave you alone, and to mean it, and to eject them from your life if they don't respect that. This is necessary not because your job is more important than anyone else's – it isn't – but because a great many people will think of you as not having a job. 'Oh, how wonderful – you can work whenever you want to!' Well, yes, to a point, but generally 'whenever you want to' had better be most of the time, or else you won't have a roof over your head.
Poppy Z. Brite

You shouldn't change what you are in the search for success. 
Sissy Spacek 
...about not changing her name when she became an actress

The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of its behind. 
Joseph Stilwell

Measure your minds height by the shadow it casts.
Rex Stout

You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday. 
Jonathan Swift

I can't give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time. 
Herbert Bayard Swope

Failure? I never encountered it. All I ever met were temporary setbacks. 
Dottie Walters

Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess. 
Oscar Wilde

Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed. 
P. G. Wodehouse

Society of Authors

From the website:

"The SoA is a trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. We have been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century.

Members receive unlimited free advice on all aspects of the profession, including confidential clause-by-clause contract vetting, and a wide range of exclusive offers.

We campaign and lobby on the issues that affect authors and hold a wide range of events across the UK. Find out more about membership.

The SoA also administers grants and prizes to support and celebrate authors at all stages of their careers.

We administer a number of literary estates, the income from which helps towards all our work."