Don’t you love it when your cousin says: “You write for your job? Oh, well, I love
to write—haven’t you been reading my blog?”
Sure, Cousin Sarah might be a prolific blogger in her spare time, but her day job is pet grooming. Or was it working on an oil rig?
You, on the other hand, are a writer
. Whether you’re churning out press releases, editing a company newsletter, penning articles, or blogging for your company or client, you make your living on words. Congratulations.
Next time you’re questioning this decision, or staring at a blank screen hoping for inspiration to strike, try invoking the words of successful writers.
compiled a list of 90 quotes from best-selling authors
. With its permission, we’ve reprinted 10 favorites.
Don’t wait for inspiration—make it happen
“My advice is not to wait to be struck by an idea. If you’re a writer, you sit down and damn well decide to have an idea. That’s the way to get an idea.” —Andy Rooney
Writers need intestinal fortitude
“I’ve always had complete confidence in myself. When I was nothing, I had complete confidence. There were 10 guys in my writing class at Williams College who could write better than I. They didn’t have what I have, which is guts. I was dedicated to writing, and nothing could stop me.” —John Toland
“I make a very tight outline of everything I write before I write it. … By writing an outline you really are writing in a way, because you’re creating the structure of what you’re going to do. Once I really know what I’m going to write, I don’t find the actual writing takes all that long.” —Tom Wolfe
Fill yourself with culture and media
“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed quickly, to trap them before they escape.” —Ray Bradbury
Be yourself when you write
“You have to follow your own voice. You have to be yourself when you write. In effect, you have to announce, ‘This is me, this is what I stand for, this is what you get when you read me. I’m doing the best I can … but this is who I am as a writer.” —David Morrell
You’re never done
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” —Larry L. King
Sound familiar (ahem, jargon)?
“Always remember the reader. Always level with him, and never talk down to him. You may think you’re some kind of smart guy because you’re the great writer. Well, if you’re such a smart guy, how come the reader is paying you? Remember the reader’s the boss. He’s hired you to do a job. So do it.” —Jay Anson
Small spaces = sexy prose
“The conclusion to be drawn is that I am happiest writing in small rooms. They make me feel comfortable and secure. And it took me years to figure out that I need to write in a corner. Like a small animal burrowing into its hole, I shift furniture around, and back myself into a cozy corner, with my back to the wall … and then I can write.” —Danielle Steel
You’re a teacher, too
“If you can teach people something, you’ve won half the battle. They want to keep on reading.” —Dick Francis
Reliability trumps talent
“There’s really a shortage of good freelance writers. … There are a lot of talented people who are very erratic, so either they don’t turn it in or they turn it in and it’s rotten; it’s amazing. Somebody who’s even maybe not all that terrific but who is dependable, who will turn in a publishable piece more or less on time, can really do very well.”
Visit Writer’s Digest to see 80 more quotes.