Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Writing Quotes--a Few of my Favorites

"Precision, clarity, and a personal rhythm. Above all: to treat words as if they were people." John Hersey

"If the sentence reads right to me, if it has flow, I don't give a damn whether it's grammatically right or wrong." H. Allen Smith

"If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water." Ernest Hemingway

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." Jesse Stuart

"The writers task is to take one thing and let it stand for twenty." Virginia Woolf

"...the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat....The writer's duty is to write about these things. It is his privelege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past."
William Faulkner


  1. This post is way too intellectual for me. I didn't understand half of it, except the bit about grammer. Good thing I am not being tested on it.

  2. Jane, that's funny. I wonder if any writers reading this post felt the same way?

  3. I really liked all the quotes. I didn't want to say anything because they said it so well. I especially liked the William Faulkner quote. It took me by surprise that it came from him.

  4. I think William Faulkner was probably standing in Barnes and Noble looking at the best selling table when he said that.

  5. @ L.A. How are you so funny? You always make me laugh!

  6. I really like the one about writing to suit yourself and many people will like it, write to suit someone else and hardly anyone will like it. I think that is so true. There is no point in trying to please a nameless public, or a faceless editor, or anyone other than yourself. Write the book that you would want to read. And write it the absolute best that you can. It still may not be good enough for publication, but at least you will have enjoyed the process more than if you were forcing yourself into a box that doesn't fit.