Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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June 27, 2014

Instant Inspiration


photo credit: bloody marty mix via photopin cc

photo credit: bloody marty mix via photopin cc

You know I’m the cheerleader of the WITS bunch, right? I’m the old lady jumping up and down on the sidelines in a too-short skirt so tight that the zipper won’t go up all the way, yelling my head off, telling writers they can DO this!

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that every morning I post two quotes. The first is a cowboy quote. Cute, clever, common-sense, down-home advice, like:

“Remember to load your brain before you shoot your mouth off.”

Or, “Worry is like a rocking horse. It's something to do that doesn't get you anywhere.”

The second quote is about writing. I began a file years ago, to give me inspiration when I needed it, and then decided to share – after all, all those who toil alone, wrangling thoughts into words  need inspiration.

Lately, as my deadline draws near, and the end of my WIP does not, I’ve been reaching for inspiration (along with coffee, wine and therapy). The below quotes are for you.

GOOOoooooo Writers!

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
—Philip Roth

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
—George Orwell

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.”
—Stephen King

“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”
—Ray Bradbury

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”
—Ray Bradbury

“There is only one plot—things are not what they seem.”
—Jim Thompson

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
—Mark Twain

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. ~Richard Bach

I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning. ~P eter De Vries

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.Anton Chekhov

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

I often joke that I keep going until I get a yes or a restraining order. Steven Pressfield

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.  ~E.L. Doctorow
What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.  ~Logan Pearsall Smith

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood.  I'd type a little faster.  ~Isaac Asimov

I love being a writer.  What I can't stand is the paperwork.  ~Peter De Vries

A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote.  ~Mignon McLaughlin

Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.  ~Gene Fowler

A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. ~Baltasar Gracián

Writing is a struggle against silence.  ~Carlos Fuentes
Most editors are failed writers - but so are most writers.  ~T.S. Eliot
My language is the common prostitute that I turn into a virgin.  ~Karl Kraus

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.  ~Henry David Thoreau,
Being an author is being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.  ~Terri Guillemets

If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don't remove it — I might be writing in my dreams. ~Terri Guillemets

I write because I'm afraid to say some things out loud. ~Gordon Atkinson

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.  ~Thomas Mann
A person who publishes a book wilfully appears before the populace with his pants down. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

I hate writing, I love having written.  ~Dorothy Parker

The first draft of anything is shit. Ernest Hemingway

I have found the most valuable thing in my wallet is my library card. Laura Bush

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.

Gloria Steinem

Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.  ~Gene Fowler

You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” - Jack London

Try to think of others’ good luck as encouragement to yourself. Richard Ford

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” Ayn Rand

"I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shovelling sand into the sandbox so that later I can build castles." - Rachel Stirling

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.” Joss Whedon

"Don't turn away. Keep looking at the bandaged place. That's where the light enters you."  -Rumi

Okay, I’m going to stop now – just know that I could go on a LOT longer. I’ll leave you with by very favorite quote of all time:

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Your turn. Do you have an inspiring quote stuck to your computer screen?

Dish it!

The winner of The Four Agreements from Kathryn Craft's post on Monday (thank you Kathryn!) is Jennifer Jensen!

Magnet Artwork 1Laura's Sweet on a Cowboy Series will conclude with Sweet On You.  It releases August 26th.

Ex-army medic Katya Smith has always healed other people's pain. Now she has to deal with her own. Taking a job as an athletic trainer on the Pro Bull Riding circuit seems like the perfect escape from her grief-except Katya doesn't know anything about bulls, and even less about the tough men who ride them. She doesn't expect to fall for the sport, or for one tantalizing cowboy who tumbles her defenses.

For rodeo champion Cam Cahill, fifteen years of bucking bulls have taken their toll on his body. Before he retires, he wants a final chance at the world title-and he doesn't need some New Age gypsy telling him how to do his job. But when the stunning trainer with the magical hands repairs more than his worn muscles, everything changes. Soon Cam finds himself trying to persuade Katya to forgive her past so she can build a future . . . with him.

40 comments on “Instant Inspiration”

  1. These are wonderful, Laura! Thank you so much for sharing. I have some quotes here and there, but it's wonderful to get this nice compilation. Many thanks and best wishes finishing that WIP!

  2. Wow, I love all these quotes. Some are really funny and true. Thanks for posting these. I hope you finish your WIP soon.
    Happy Friday.

  3. So much wonderful inspiration! I absolutely adore this one: "There is only one plot—things are not what they seem.” —Jim Thompson

    What hung near my desk for a long time was Virginia Woolf: "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." And I also adore this one from Samuel Johnson: "What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure."

    And now I need to go update my own writing quotes file! Thanks.

  4. Thanks for this list, Laura. Quotes inspire me, too. The Peter DeVries quote has always been one of my favorites. I'm going to use Hemingway's quote about all of us being apprentices. That's the way I feel right now. In return, here's another favorite of mine from Meg Cabot: "You're not a hundred dollar bill; not everyone is going to like you or your story."

  5. Great list, Laura!

    Here's one of the sticky notes by my computer (although I can't remember who said it):

    "Before there was order, there was chaos. Learn to welcome the chaos.

    Let the words flow. Shush the internal editor."

  6. Enjoyed your post, Laura. Here are a few words I practice constantly: The writing process benefits two people: the one who begins the journey; and the one who finishes it.

    1. I have no idea where that quote was born, Laura. There is no reference to it anywhere that I can find. One of those mysteries of life, I suppose.

  7. Laura, there are so many and I can't grab one in my head. My good on-line buddy, Christi Corbett, has done "Quotation Friday" for years. Each is a gem about the craft.

    This is an amazing list. I'll send her the link. Thanks for keeping the light on at the end of the tunnel, you have no idea how many of us you are helping 🙂

  8. One of the best quotes I know, is one I don't really remember. All I can recall is the visual it left me with. 'A writer cuts open his heart to bleed their life's blood on the page, the blood becomes ink which forms a story. The reader reads the words and as they flow into his heart, they become life's blood once again.' I know I do a lot of bleeding on the page hoping that someday a reader will take me in.

  9. Thanks, Laura, for all those inspirational quotes. The one I like best I found on the tag of a Good Earth tea bag...it is by UNKNOWN..."Don't be upset by the results you didn't get with the work you didn't do." 'Nuff said!

  10. I have a few by my desk, but lately I keep looking at the quote from Virginia Woolf, "There is no denying the wild horse in us." This is especially useful when I think the manuscript has taken over, the characters are in my face, and instead of trying to organize it, i go with the wildness. Always makes for a better book.

  11. Hi Laura,

    Thank you for your blog and your books. Long after reading your books, I'll be in the garden pulling weeds, think of one of your fresh marvelous visceral descriptions and smile from the pleasure of the words you put together. You are a fantastic writer.

    I think every writer has a few meaningful post-its by the computer. My post-its:

    Paris Review: How much rewriting do you do?
    Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending to A Farewell To Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.
    Paris Review: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that stumped you?
    Hemingway: Getting the words right.

    "Happiness is pretty simple--someone to love,
    something to do, something to look forward to."
    --Rita Mae Brown, quoted in the Nashville Tennessean

    I know your WIP will be stellar.


  12. Thanks for a wonderful post. My favorite Quote: Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.
    Thomas Berger

  13. These are the three I have written in the cover of the yellow spiral notebook I take to work so I can write during my breaks:

    "I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something, you can be judged." - Erica Jong

    "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." - John Steinbeck

    and my favorite, because I have issues writing anything BUT dialogue sometimes...

    "All the information you need can be given in dialogue." - Elmore Leonard

  14. I love quotes and get several a day from different sources. Here's one that echoes Randy's brick wall quote: The obstacle is the path - Zen proverb. Laura, you've always been such an inspiration to me. You rock!

  15. Thanks for sharing these. Amazingly I don't have any quotes stuck to my desk or pinned to my Windows screen. I do try to remember though that Tolkien was turned down time and time again before Lord of the Rings found a home ... maybe, if he can do it, so can I.

  16. My quote is from Anne Sexton - "When I am writing, I am doing the thing I was meant to do." Helps me to keep my fanny in the chair. Wonderful Monday beginning - thanks all.

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