10 Writers on Writing

“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” — E.L. Doctorow

Literary great E.L. Doctorow passed away this week at age 84, leaving behind an illustrious career that changed how we think about historical fiction. But the master of storytelling didn’t just impart wisdom in his novels; Doctorow was also an editor and a teacher. And like many other authors, he had lots to say about the art and craft of writing. Here are just a few quotes on writing from writers we know we should listen to. Think of it as tough love.


“The important thing is not to be too comfortable when you’re writing. Noise in the street? That’s good. The computer goes down? That’s good. All these things are good. It has to be a bit of a struggle.” — E.L. Doctorow

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” — Louis L’Amour

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” — Agatha Christie

“Writing is my life and love, but it’s also a job, and I was raised by a Swedish farmer. I know how to do jobs.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

“Sit down every day and write words. They don’t have to be perfect, but they have to be there.” — Karma Brown

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” — Allen Ginsberg

“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” — Robert Benchley

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

“In my view, a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.” — Junot Díaz

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” — Ernest Hemingway


Did I miss any of your favorite quotes?

Image: flickr


    Karen Green

    Karen Green is a freelance writer and big city ex-pat now living in rural Ontario. She writes for numerous print and online publications, and considers her library card to be one of her most valuable possessions.

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