Ahh… writers we have a love of words. They take us on a journey into untold worlds, they fuel our imaginations, they lift us up and make us swoon with desire… that we may be able to write to make others stop everything even if only for a moment. To stop everything and be wholly in the universe of letters we string together… to touch some part of people’s hearts wounded, or aching, or yearning for that moment to be fully present and lost in a dream of what could be all at the same time.
Maybe even just for a chuckle, a smile, a subtle lift at the corners of the mouth and a brief twinkle in the eyes. A sigh, an aha, a respite. A moment when everything shifts into a new perspective. Sweetness. A whisper in the dark. The ground beneath moves. Passion invigorating movement. Stillness.
Writers love to invent, weave, dream, communicate. We write because we need to. It’s something we must do, because not to is death to our soul. But occasionally our muse slips away, and we find our inspiration waning, our mind’s sleepy and lethargic. During times like this a collection of inspirational quotes from other writers who’ve gone before us, who’ve likely experienced the emptiness too could be just the thing we need to get our juices flowing again.
Here are some of my favourite quotes about writing to help put the pen back in your hand, or fingers to the keyboard with renewed passion.
“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”
“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke
“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
“If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
—Catherine Drinker Bowen
“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”
“If a story is in you, it has to come out.”
“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worse enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
“That’s the thing about books, they let you travel without moving your feet.”
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I am afraid of.”
“If it’s still in your mind it is worth taking the risk.”
“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”
“If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.”
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.”
—Pearl S. Buck
“You can’t blame a writer for what the characters say.”
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”
“There is no denying the wild horse in us.”
“No need to force yourself to do something the “right way” if it’s not your right way. Your job is to honor your process.”
—Andi Cumbo Floyd
“Give me books, fruit, French wine, fine weather and a little music.”
“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”
“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things.”
“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”
– Ernest Hermingway
Do you have any favourites you’d like to add? Please comment and share!
In a world of words, I want just one.
Just one that jumps out and claims me.
One that tells a story within a story. One that speaks to the deepest darkest depths… of the heart of this writer’s life… the word that makes sense of the wild and crazy journey I’ve been on.
The word that has compelled me, sent me out into the world to find its meaning, because it existed inside of me before I understood it… and then went into hiding, but always… always it was there.
A word that has taunted me to seek it in the daily grind, in the excruciating pain that consumed me, and in the beauty of fleeting moments that I believed were sacred… but, discovered haunting loneliness instead.
Through ugly loves, choices of spirals that were misguided and flawed, because I believed in the lies that were not real, but acted against everything that on some level I knew was right.
Through beautiful loves too… loves that have given me hope in the seeking of a sustaining truth.
A word that sums it all up and turns it all upside down… inside out… makes it all right in the soul… in the breath… in the wings that hover and protect.
In the loving eye that has always kept me in sight… in the uttering of the word… in the qualities of holy… of the holiest of holies whispering.
In the gentlest of breath uttered by my ear and fluttering along my cheek that it makes me quiver.
A waft of it swirling up into my mind, down into the ventricles of living life pulsing with particles expanding… drawing me somewhere closer to the only known that matters.
There is a book, a second book. A memoir. It’s waiting for me to write it. It’s preparing me. I’m sifting through moments to explore it, to investigate what wants to be rescued, inviting the theme that wants to be revealed.
A word has moved ever so gently in… and onto a Post-it Note where I can gaze upon it, and give it space to shape its essence.
I was visiting my parents this week. It was a good day, a good visit. I brought out their tin of photographs and let their memories come alive. I had mum write names on the back of the old tattered black and white photos.
I listened to tales of long long ago. Eager and attentive to catch glimpses of parts of them I never saw, never knew. Maybe I would learn something that would help in the making of sense.
Then my breath caught and my eyes wettened, not quite spilling over, but close. There in the listening grew a certain amount of anxiety in me, maybe even panic.
Their recollections… their memories… their sagas would soon be lost. Where would they go? What tales would I remember, or not remember, because so often in the grasping to hold near what is dear, it slips away.
Where do all of our lives… just us ordinary folks… the memories of them… where do they go? Generation after generation?
Does it matter? I don’t know.
But, I began to comprehend that there was so much that I didn’t yet know about them. At 92 and 88 time is running out for me to find out.
Short catching breaths.
What happens if our family tree dies off? Who will remember? So many precious moments… where do they go? What meaning do they have… in their having once been… and then no more?
Maybe I should make time for more visits. Maybe I should write these recollections down… capture them somehow. So much to be grateful for that I have been blind to all my life.
Where we hurt. Our trials, our suffering, our rage, our injustices.
What if they are meant to be our gift and our strength. If only we look up and see through the eyes of God’s love. We might see something altogether different.
In a world of words, I want just one. No flashy subtitles. Just one word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
~ John 1:1
This one sentence, it speaks to me daily. It informs me in ways I do not understand yet. Somehow, I feel it defines my life, or the life that I am in the unfolding.
The Word… the word… it gives itself to me. It chases me. It’s so good to me. It presents itself as a mountain to climb and a living water to swim in. It creates me alive.
In a world of words, I want just one. May it be so.
I wonder… if you had a word that told your story, what would it be?
In abiding love,
Dear little one,
The world is going to try to tell you so many things about yourself, so many things it doesn’t know anything about. It’s going to try to mold you, to think certain things are important, and it’s going to make you feel like you must conform to belong.
I want for you to know who you are, who you really are. That something that you feel inside you… it’s God’s presence and he will never fail you if you listen to him.
He knew everything about you before you were even born, because you were first a thought in his great almighty mind and then he created you with a plan to live a life in his name, as a reflection of his glory. He knew what he had in mind when he knitted you together in the dark womb of your mother.
You know those times when you feel your precious little heart pulsing for something you can’t see, so much so, that you almost ache in the wanting to know it, in the feelings that grow so big that you think you’re going to cry in the longing beauty of it? Those… right there will tell you more about yourself and who you are and how to live in the world than anyone else can.
Because it’s such a big part of who you are, it’s going to make you feel so different from other people. But, it’s how God made you, it’s this that you must listen to. Know yourself, know your heart and your mind.
Write about it. You were born to write about it… and to share the fruits of what God communicates through your feelings and thoughts when you write. The aching yearning beauty of what you feel and what you hear when you listen. There are so many people who are suffering in the world and they too ache to be uplifted, to feel the presence of God reaching out to them… to be encouraged to find their own truth. This is a gift God has given to you, so enjoy it fully… share it fully… with all your heart… and do it boldly.
Write because you want to… write because you need to… because it’s such a big part of what makes you come alive… because writing is how you explore your thoughts and ideas in a way that gets to the real you, and don’t give up even if you experience disappointment… even if it seems like you are failing at it… or even if no one reads it… keep at it. Write, write, write because gifts need to be refined, they need practice to be developed and to get better and better with time.
Do this and you will please God and you will please yourself. The most important things that you can do are those that are pleasing to God; be the truth that he created in you, be love, be kindness, be forgiveness, be faithful and be these things with your whole heart and soul and mind, in the way that is unique to you… your own special way.
If you listen to the ways of others over what you know to be true to yourself, you’ll never feel good enough, you’ll never know who you really are and all that God had in mind for you. You’ll be pulled in different directions and you’ll lose sight of what it is to be loved. Without God as your source of strength you’ll never feel right in yourself or in the world.
But you know what, precious? Even if you falter, even if you forget… or even if you lose your way, God is always with you and he will find a way to bring you back into his loving arms. Know that you are his… know that you are loved by him… always and forever.
With abiding love,
Ah… there’s probably so many pieces of advice we could give ourselves, this is one little bit that’s been encouraging me to revive my love of writing for a couple of years now. I’m so guilty of having given it up because I felt disappointed that life didn’t hand me all that I hoped for in my first years of writing. What about you? What would you write to your younger self or your kids?
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