The best offbeat quotes for authors to inspire a lifelong writing habit and more.

It’s true. It takes a lot more than a charming thread of quotes about writing and #authorlife to inspire a lifelong writing habit. A writing habit requires a commitment to learning writing fundamentals, mastering the mindset of a pro, and a productive writing plan. To learn more about that, check out my daily podcast for authors, Your Daily Writing Habit. I’m told some listeners even use my show as motivation to work on their books. Have a listen and see how YDWH works best for you. 

In the meantime, please enjoy this collection of quotes that I think are helpful for us as authors. And if some of these quotes don’t scream “writing” to you… well, that’s what makes them offbeat quotes. 

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” -Orson Scott

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”  -E. L. Doctorow

“Being in the mood to write, like being in the mood to make love, is a luxury that isn’t necessary in a long-term relationship. Just as the first caress can lead to a change of heart, the first sentence, however tentative and awkward, can lead to a desire to go just a little further.”  -Julia Cameron

“To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.” -John Ruskin

“Sometimes in a nervous frenzy I just fling words as if I were flinging mud at a wall. Blurt out, heave out, babble out something — anything — as a first draft…Until it exists, writing has not really begun.”  -John McPhee

“I would advise any beginning writer to write the first drafts as if no one else will ever read them – without a thought about publication – and only in the last draft to consider how the work will look from the outside.” -Anne Tyler

“Keep calm when things don’t go according to your expectations! Beautiful things always meet friction!” -Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

“Don’t waste your energy trying to change opinions … do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”  -Tina Fey

“Breaking through writer’s block is like thinking out of the box: Both require an ability to imagine a world outside your four walls or rearranging them to get a better view.”  -Susan J. McIntire

“The key to a good story structure is to write a great beginning and a great ending and keep them close together.”  -Anonymous

“The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination.” -Elbert Hubbard

“Talent is required, but much of writing is a matter of craft, which develops with time, attention, patience and practice, like playing an instrument or learning to dance.”  -Susan Wiggs

“True surprise springs from the revelation of the gap between expectation and result. This surprise is “true” because it’s followed by a rush of insight, the revelation of a truth hidden beneath the surface of the fictional world.”  -Robert McKee

“A picture is worth 1000 words but a sentence is worth 1000 pictures.”  -Michael Patrick

“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” -Leo Tolstoy

“Habit is stronger than reason.”  -George Santayana

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.”  -Alan Perils

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”  -Alexander Graham Bell

“To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”  -Leonardo da Vinci

“Create a world in front of your readers where they can taste, smell, touch, hear, see, and move. Or else they are likely going to move on to another book.” -Pawan Mishra

“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.”  -Les Brown

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.”  -Virginia Woolf

“Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.”  -Bruce Springsteen

“Writer’s block’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘I don’t feel like doing any work today.”  -Meagan Spooner

“The one thing all famous authors, world class athletes, business tycoons, singers, actors, and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they all began their journeys when they were none of these things. Yet still, they began their journeys.”  -Mike Dooley

“Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was ‘terrible,’ describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was ‘delightful’; make us say ‘delightful’ when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, ‘Please, will you do my job for me?’”  -C.S. Lewis

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”  -Theodore Isaac Rubin

“Everything in writing begins with language. Language begins with listening.”  -Jeanette Winterson

“People often think it’s weird to get hyped about reading one page or meditating for one minute or making one sales call. But the point is not to do one thing. The point is to master the habit of showing up. The truth is, a habit must be established before it can be improved. If you can’t learn the basic skill of showing up, then you have little hope of mastering the finer details. Instead of trying to engineer a perfect habit from the start, do the easy thing on a more consistent basis. You have to standardize before you can optimize.”  -James Clear

What is your favorite offbeat quote for authors (on the list, offbeat, or otherwise)? Share it in my Ink Authors group on Facebook!


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