Don’t Quote Me on That

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By Crystal Laine Miller

I’ve been collecting quotes I like for a long time and have a huge, unorganized file. Here are some quotes dealing with writing that speak to me. Maybe they will speak to you too.

“Writing a novel is like jumping out of a plane with some yarn, then trying to knit a parachute before you hit the ground…” Neil Gaiman

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” ~Barbara Kingsolver

Brenda Ueland said, “Duty should be a by-product. Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first – at least for some part of every day of your life.” (If You Want to Write, 1938)

“Books aren’t written on whim or promises. Books are written on years turned inside out by ideas that never let go until you get them in print, and even then writing’s a last resort, a desperate ransom you pay to get your life back.” — Richard Bach

“Writing isn’t necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterward.” — Robert A. Heinlein

“I never actually learned the rules of grammar, relying instead only on what sounded right.” — Joan Didion

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

(Sometimes there are discrepancies on who says what or maybe some writers plagiarize:)

Harry Crews was the one who said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ~James Michener

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

“The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” -~Mary Heaton Vorse

“Actually, I have no formula. At the risk of sounding falsely modest, I believe I have been bestowed only one gift and thus I feel obligated to exercise it. I don’t sing or dance or preach. Writing is all I do. I don’t worry about competing with anyone or anything except my own capabilities. I believe we most honor God by being the best we can be at whatever it is we’re called to-whether that means we’re the best in the world, or the tenth, or the thousandth. It’s possible for the thousandth best writer in the business to be working at his/her fullest potential and for the number one author to not be living up to his/her potential. If a person makes the mistake of shooting to be number one, should he/she be depressed if they wind up second or fourth? Better to be the best you’re capable of and leave the results to the marketplace.” ~Jerry B. Jenkins

What are some of your favorite writer quotes?

Crystal Laine Miller May 2013Crystal Laine Miller writes from her Hoosier home on the river next to a pond beside a creek in the woods with sparse internet. She is pretty sure what Thomas Mann said was just for her: “A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

Comments 0

  1. Hi Chrystal!

    I collect writing quotes as well! Here are some of my favorites:

    He is at work on your behalf, not to make you a best-seller, but to make you the best tool for His work. As much as we?d like to think this whole gig is about selling books, it?s not. It?s about obedience. About writing, because that?s the task He?s given us. It?s about seeking to serve Him and others through the gifts He?s given us. ~Karen Ball.

    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

    quote from Mother Teresa: ?I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.?

    Goals are dreams with deadlines. Diana Scharf Hunt

    Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov (I love this quote because it reminds me to show and not tell). 🙂

    All the best as we write for His glory,

    Lucy Morgan-Jones

  2. Hi, Lucy!

    I love your quotes (and have a few of them.) I just added them to my quotes file with your name. 🙂

    This is fun for me–seeing quotes from other writers. Love the one from Karen Ball!

    Thank you for reading and responding. 🙂

  3. Crystal, thanks for the excellent quotes this morning! I love the one by Neil Gaiman. My daughter and I heard him speak on Monday at a book signing and he said this, which I thought was too true:

    Writing is like driving down a really winding country lane, in thick fog, with one headlight out.

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