Antony Peyton Writer and Journalist

Antony Peyton
Quotes on Writing

11 March 2012.

There are many great quotes on the craft of writing. Here are some I particularly like.


If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.
~Isaac Asimov

I’d rather be caught holding up a bank than stealing so much as a two-word phrase from another writer.
~Jack Smith

All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.
~Chateaubriand, Le Génie du Christianisme, 1802

One of the most feared expressions in modern times is “The computer is down.”
~Norman Augustine

What we want is a story that starts with an earthquake and builds to a climax.
~Samuel Goldwyn

You have all the scenes. Just go home and word it in.
~Samuel Goldwyn to Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

Why do people always expect authors to answer questions? I am an author because I want to ASK questions. If I had answers I’d be a politician.
~Eugene Ionesco

A writer never has a vacation. For a writer’s life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.
~Eugene Ionesco

Writing is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to those who have none.
~Jules Renard

Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.
~Jules Renard

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

Easy reading is damn hard writing.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.
~Thomas Berger

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

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.
~Howard Aiken

Observe, don’t imitate.
~John M. Ford

Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
~Samuel Johnson

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
~Elbert Hubbard

Never let inexperience get in the way of ambition.
~Terry Josephson

Half of being smart is knowing what you’re dumb at.
~David Gerrold

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

Anybody can become a writer, but the trick is to STAY a writer.
~Harlan Ellison

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