8 quotes to inspire your writing

From Winston Churchill to Fran Lebowitz, insights long and short about the craft.

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One of my nerdy little hobbies is collecting quotes about writing by famous authors. But I just don’t collect them—I read them, regularly.

I find that reading a good quote is a bit like a shot of Vitamin B, or, even, a splash of cold water in the face. It energizes you—by helping you resolve to do better.

At other times, a pithy quote is like a tour guide pointing out an important bit of scenery in a strange country. “Oh, that’s what I should be noticing,” you say to yourself.

Finally, the telling quote can also be a laugh line—a chance to guffaw at your own writing foibles (much more effective than crying over them).

Here are eight of my favorite quotes, collected over the last year:

1. Winston Churchill (1874-1965) knew a thing or three about the high-stakes game of persuasive writing. Here is his well-honed advice:

If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time—a tremendous whack.

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