Sensational Quotes for Smart People


Quotes about Writing, Writers,

Books, and Grammar 

Writer Image

First Top-10 List of Sensational

Quotes about Writers and Writing

#1 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for.
— Mark Twain

#2 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

If you want to be a writer — stop talking about it and sit down and write!
— Jackie Collings

#3 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
— Richard Bach

#4 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

Writing is a profession in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none.
— Jules Renard

#5 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity.
— Thomas Carlyle

#6 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

Nobody ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have while trying to write one.
— Robert Byrne 

 #7 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

Marry money.
— Max Shulman's advice to aspiring authors.

#8 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom, but they dare to go it alone.
— John Updike

#9 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

There is probably no hell for authors in the next world — they suffer so much from critics and publishers in this.
— C. N. Bovee

#10 of Top-10 Sensational Writers Quotes

Only amateurs say that they write for their own amusement. Writing is not an amusing occupation. It is a combination of ditch-digging, mountain-climbing, treadmill and childbirth. Writing may be interesting, absorbing, exhilarating, racking, relieving. But amusing? Never!
— Edna Ferber

Second Top-Ten List of Sensational

Quotes about Writers and Writing

#1 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

You don't write because you want to say something: You write because you've got something to say.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

#2 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any.
— Russell Baker

#3 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing,
but I couldn't give it up, because by that time I was too famous.
— Robert Benchley

#4 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.
— Danielle Steel

#5 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

Nice guys can't write.
— Knox Burger (Literary Agent)

#6 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.
 Mark Twain

#7 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

I am writing a book. So far I have the pages numbered.
— Steven Wright

#8 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

There are three rules of writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
— W. Somerset Maugham

#9 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

Who am I to tamper with a masterpiece?
Oscar Wilde (when asked to change one of his plays)

#10 of Top-Ten Sensational Quotes about Writers

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!
— Henry David Thoreau

 More Sensational Quotes about Writing

and Writers for Smart People 

The greatness of all nations arises from its authors.
— Samuel Johnson

Whenever I am asked what kind of writing is the most lucrative, I have to say, a ransom note.
— H. N. Swanson

Writing is the hardest way to earn a living, with the possible
exception of wrestling alligators.
— Olin Miller

When I had got my notes all written out I thought I'd polish it off in two summers, but it took me twenty-seven years.
— Arnold Toynbee

The profession of book writing makes horseracing seem like a solid, stable business.
— John Steinbeck

I am often mad, but I would hate to be nothing but mad: and I think I would lose what little value I may have as a writer
if I were to refuse, as a matter of principle, to accept the warming rays of the sun, and to report them, whenever, and if ever, they happen to strike me.
— E. B. White

Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.
— W. H. Auden

His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning. As a writer he has mastered everything except language.
— Oscar Wilde writing about author George Meredith

I think I must write a book. It has been my cherished dream and I feel an influence that I cannot resist calling me to the task.
— Charles W..Chesnutt

Among all kinds of writing, there is none in which authors are more apt to miscarry than in works of humor, as there is none in which they are more ambitious to excel.
— Josaph Addison

Anybody can write a three-volume novel. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature.
— Oscar Wilde

The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty.
— John Steinbeck

When I read something saying I've not done anything as good as Catch-22, I'm tempted to reply, "Who has?"
— Joseph Heller (Author of Catch 22)

Book writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Anyone who decides to write a book must expect to invest a lot of time and effort
without any guarantee of success. Books do not write themselves and they do not sell themselves. Authors write and promote their
— Dan Poynter

I have heard a thousand masterpieces talked out over bars,
restaurant tables, and loveseats. I have never seen one of
them in print. Books must be written, not talked.
— Morris L. West

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
— Gene Fowler

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.
— Richard Feynman

Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.
— Norman Mailer

Writing books is certainly a most unpleasant occupation. It is lonesome, unsanitary, and maddening. Many authors go crazy.
— H. L. Mencken

I have been an author for 20 years and an ass for 55.
— Mark Twain

It isn't much of a book of quotations if I'm not in it.
Ernie Zelinski (author of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free), when given a book of quotations for his birthday.


Paranoia runs deep in some authors, possibly because authors are so great at imagining things that don't exist.
— Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords

You can never be too paranoid.
—C. E. Crimmins

Every writer I know has trouble writing.
— Joseph Heller

I write long epigrams, you yourself write nothing. Yours are shorter.
— Martial (A.D. 40-102)

Ah, yes! I wrote the "Purple Cow" —
I'm sorry, now, I wrote it!
But I can tell you anyhow,
I'll kill you if you quote it!
— Gelett Burgess

The writer is either a practising recluse or a delinquent, guilt-ridden one; or both. Usually both.
— Susan Sontag

The shelf life of the modern hardback writer is somewhere between the milk and the yoghurt.
— John Mortimer

Nowadays three witty turns of phrase and a lie make a writer.
G. C. Lichtenberg

There's no greater bliss in life than when the plumber eventually comes to unlock your drains. No writer can give that sort of pleasure.
— Victoria Glendinning

To read your own poetry in public is a kind of mental incest.
— Brendan Behan's father

Teaching has ruined more American novelists than drink.
— Gore Vidal

It's not who you know, it's who knows you.
— Marcela Landres, former Simon & Schuster editor

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
— Oscar Wilde

As publishing has become less expensive, the urge to write my own self has become the opportunity to publish my own self. Everyone now can afford to preach in the desert.
— Gabriel Zaid, Book Critic and author of So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance

Autobiography is the last refuse of scoundrels.
— Henry Gray

With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and definite hardening of the paragraphs.
— James Thurber

Autobiograpy is now as common as adultery and hardly less reprehensible.
— Lord altrincham

Live never to be ashamed if anything you do or say is published around the world — even if what is published is not true.
— from Messiah's Handbook by Richard Bach

Book reviewers are little old ladies of both sexes.
— John O'Hara

Books work as an art form (and an economic one) because they are primarily the work of an individual.
— Seth Godin, in
Book Content as a Solo Endeavor

The play had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.
— James Thurber

Write with the learned, pronounce with the vulgar.
Benjamin Franklin

I can't do no literary work for the rest of this year because I'm meditating another lawsuit and looking around for a defendant.
— Mark Twain

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can't help it.
— Author Unknown

Why do writers write? Because it isn't there.
— Thomas Berger

I did not intend to write a funny book, at first. I did not know I was a humorist. I have never been sure about it.  In the middle ages, I should probably have gone about preaching and got myself burnt or hanged.
— Jerome K. Jerome

Even the most careful and expensive marketing plans cannot sell people a book they don’t want to read.
— Michael Korda

I'm a lousy writer; a helluva lot of people have got lousy taste.
— Grace Metalious

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
— Winston Churchill

In America only the successful writer is important, in France all writers are important, in England no writer is important, and in Australia you have to explain what a writer is.
— Geoffrey Cottrell, writer

Never judge a book by its movie.
— J. W. Eagan

It is a mean thief or a successful author that plunders the dead.
— Austin O'Malley

You could compile the worst book in the world entirely out of selected passages from the best writers in the world.
— G. K. Chesterton

Truth is shorter than fiction.
— Irving Cohen

How to Become a Best-Selling Author:
• Pick a topic you are interested in.
• Think about the topic a lot.
• Think about it some more.
• Develop your own unique theory about what it all means.
• Just do it — go out and test your theory.
• Write a book about it.
— Roy Williams 

The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new.
— William Makepeace Thackeray

What people really want ... is to be broke. At least, that's one likely interpretation of a new YouGov poll that shows more people [in Britain] would rather be a writer than anything else. Now, it's possible they've all got their eyes on the J. K. Rowling squillions, but the financial reality is rather more depressing. Most book manuscripts end up unwanted and unread on publishers' and agents' slush piles, and the majority of those that do make it into print sell fewer than 1,000 copies ... It's not even as if writing is that glamorous. You sit alone for hours on end honing your deathless prose, go days without really talking to anyone and, if you're lucky, within a year or so you will have a manuscript that almost no one will want to read. Your friends and family will come to dread requests for constructive feedback ...
— John Crace writing in The Guardian

The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you'll need later.
— Seth Godin

Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually. It clarifies your thinking. It builds credibility. It is a living engine of marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority. You should write one.
— Seth Godin

There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and to get sensible men to read it.
— C. C. Colton

Write something, even if it's just a suicide note.
— Unknown

This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back again.
— Oscar Wilde

In six pages I can't even say "hello."
— James Michener

Write drunk; edit sober.
— Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was a jerk.
— Harold Robbins

Harold Robbins doesn't sound like an author, he sounds like a company brochure.
The New Yorker

Writing is turning one's worst moments into money.
— J. P. Donleavy

Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.
—John LeCarre

But this I know; the writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master— something that at times strangely wills and works for itself. . . . If the result be attractive, the World will praise you, who little deserve praise; if it be repulsive, the same World will blame you, who almost as little deserve blame.
— Charlotte Brontë

The award of a pure gold medal for poetry would flatter the recipient unduly: no poem ever attains such carat purity.
— Robert Graves

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry.
— Emily Dickinson

A poem need not have a meaning and like most things in nature often does not have.
— Wallace Stevens

Writing a book is not hard. It just takes discipline, and THAT is what’s really hard for some people. Look: I’m 26, I’ve written four books. It can’t be that hard. What’s your excuse? 30 minutes a day for 6 months is a lot of content.
— Scott Ginsberg

To note an artist's limitations is but to define his talent. A reporter can write equally well about everything that is presented to his view, but a creative writer can do his best only with what lies within the range and character of his deepest sympathies.
— Willa Cather

The relationship of editor to author is knife to throat.
—Unknown wise person

Either a writer doesn't want to talk about his work, or he talks about it more than you want.
— Anatole Broyard

A painter can hang his pictures, but a writer can only hang himself.
—Edward Dahlberg

A blank page is God's way of showing you how hard it is to be God.
— Unknown wise person

Writing only leads to more writing.
— Colette

What the hell do you want to work for somebody else for? Work for yourself!
— Irving Berlin's advice to young songwriter George Gershwin

I wanted to be an editor or a journalist. I wasn't really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going.
— Richard Branson

A big book is a big bore.
— Callimachus (c. 260 B.C.)

In every fat book there is a thin book trying to get out.
— Unknown wise reader

There's no thief like a bad book.
— Italian Proverb

In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.
— Andre Maurois

Keep writing. Books, articles, pamphlets, newsletters, blogs, etc. Writing is the foundation of everything.
— Scott Ginsberg

Never let a domestic quarrel ruin a day's writing. If you can't start the day fresh, get rid of your wife.
— One of Mario Puzo's rules for writing a best-selling novel

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that don't stifle enough of them. There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
— Flannery O'conner

A novel is a piece of prose of a certain length with something wrong with it.
— Unknown wise nonfiction writer

Great Moments in Literature: In 1936, Ernest Hemingway, while trout fishing, caught a carp and decided not to write about it.
— Guindon cartoon caption

I used to be treated like an idiot, now I'm treated like an idiot savant.
— Martin Cruz Smith after his novel Gorky Park became a bestseller

Journalism largely consists in saying "Lord Jones is dead" to people  who never knew Lord Jones was alive.
— G. K. Chesterton

Every journalist has a novel in him, which is an excellent place for it.
— Russell Lynes

Manuscript: Something submitted in haste and returned in leisure.
— Oliver Hereford

How to Write While You Sleep
— Book title by Elizabeth Irwin Ross published in Cincinatti, OH, by Writers Digest Books in 1985

"Hello," he lied.
— Don Carpenter quoting a Hollywood agent

It was like passing the scene of a highway accident and being relieved to learn that nobody had been seriously injured.
— Martin Cruz Smith on being asked how he liked the movie version of his novel Gorky Park

Or don't you like to write letters? I do because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something.
— Ernest Hemingway

Writers have two main problems. One is writer's block, when the words won't come at all, and the other is logorrhea,  when the words come so fast that they can hardly get to the wastebasket in time.
— Cecelia Bartholomew

A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
— Kenneth Tynan

Unprovided with original thinking, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book.
— Edward Gibbon

I do my best writing between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.. Almost every friend I have who is a consistently productive writer, does their best writing between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. My quota is two crappy pages per day. I keep it really low so I'm not so intimidated that I never get started. I will do the gathering of interviews and research throughout the day. I'll get all my notes and materials together and then I'll do the synthesis between 10 p.m. to bed, which is usually 4 or 5 a.m.
Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek

A poem is never finished, only abandoned.
— Paul Valery

Dear Contributor: Thank you for not sending us anything lately. It suits our present needs.
— Note from publisher received by Snoopy in Peanuts cartoon by Charles Schultz.

A Bit of Craziness Is Good for Business
— from Career Success Without a Real Job

When one has no particular talent for anything, one takes to the pen.
— Honoré de Balzac

I see no reason for calling my work poetry except that there is no other category in which to put it.
— Marianne Moore

For a lesbian bastard writer mental case, I'm doing awefully well.
— Jill Johnson

William Shakespeare sounds to me like some kind of faggot.
— Gene Simmons of Kiss

I'm a lousy writer; a helluva lot of people have got lousy taste.
— Grace Metalious

Do yourself and your family a favor: Decide right now that you will write a self-help book someday. I'm serious. A self-help book is a great way to capture what you think makes a good person, a good life and a good world. It's also a "forever document" that you can pass down to future generations. We need more people sharing positive messages and books with the world. Why not be one of those people?
— Brendon Burchard

Many a man thinks he has become famous when he merely happened to meet an editor who was hard-up for material.
— Unknown wise person

The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned but it is still nonsense.

— Benjamin Franklin

When an honest writer discovers an imposition it is his simple duty to strip it bare and hurl it down from its place of honor, no matter who suffers by it; any other course would render him unworthy of the public confidence.
— Mark Twain

Syzygy, inexorable, pancreatic, phantasmagoria — anyone who can use those four words in one sentence will never have to do manual labor.
— W. P. Kinsella

A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
— Kenneth Tynan

I took a course in speed reading and was able to read War and Peace in 20 minutes. It's about Russia.
— Woody Allen

Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
— Sylvia Plath

It would positively be a relief to me to dig [Shakespeare] up and throw stones at him.
— George Bernard Shaw

[George Bernard] Shaw writes like a Pakistani who has learned English when he was twelve years old in order to become an accountant.
— John Osborne

I hate books, for they only teach people to talk about what they don't understand.
— Jean-Jacques Rosseau

I write for the same reason I breathe — because if I didn't, I would die.
— Isaac Asimov

Books for general reading always smell bad; the odor of common people hangs around them.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.
— Leo Tolstoy

The reasons so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.
— Walter Bagehot

People … have no idea what a hard job it is for two writers to be friends. Sooner or later you have to talk about each other’s work.
— Anatole Broyard

I love the look of books everywhere — in cases, on shelves, and in stacks on coffee and side tables. They give a room instant soul and warmth and show you have a curiosity about the world.
— Miles Redd

A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.
— Friedrich Nietzsche 

To write books is easy. It requires only pen and ink and the ever-patient paper.
To print books is a little more difficult, because genius so often rejoices in illegible handwriting.
To read books is more difficult still, because of the tendency to go to sleep.
But the most difficult task of all that a mortal man can embark on is to sell a book.
— Sir Stanley Unwain

There even are places where English completely disappears.
In America, they haven't used it for years!
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
— Alan Jay Lerner

The writing of more than 75 poems in any fiscal year should be punishable by a fine of $500.
— Ed Sanders

Good intentions are invariably ungrammatical.
— Oscar Wilde

The books I haven't written are better than the books other people
— Cyril V. Connolly

It you can't annoy somebody, there is no point in writing.
— Kingsley Amis

Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money.
— Louis Untermeyer

Sensational Quotes about Spelling,

Grammar, and Punctuation

To help you along as a writer, here are the best things ever said about spelling, grammar, and punctuation so the three are kept in proper perspective. These quotes — "quotations" for the purists — come from a book that I am putting together called Life's Ludicrous Handbook.

As far as I'm concerned, "whom" is a word that was invented to make everyone sound like a butler.
— Calvin Trillin

At painful times, when composition is impossible and reading is not enough, grammar and dictionaries are excellent for distraction.
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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

This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.
— Winston Churchill

"Whom are you?" said he, for he had been to night school.
— George Ade

My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.
— A. A. Milne

George Moore wrote brilliant English until he discovered grammar.
— Oscar Wilde

Commas in The New Yorker fall with the precision of knives in a circus act, outlining the victim.
— E. B. White

Reading and writing, arithmetic and grammar do not constitute education, any more than a knife, fork and spoon constitute a dinner.
— John Lubbock

Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

I don't want to talk grammar. I want to talk like a lady.
— George Bernard Shaw

What the devil to do with the sentence "Who the devil does he think he's fooling?" You can't write "Whom the devil- "
 — Paul Goodman

When I hear the hypercritical quarreling about grammar and style, the position of the particles, etc., etc., stretching or contracting every speaker to certain rules of theirs . . . I see that they forget that the first requisite and rule is that expression shall be vital and natural, as much as the voice of a brute or an interjection: first of all, mother tongue; and last of all, artificial or father tongue. Essentially your truest poetic sentence is as free and lawless as a lamb's bleat.
 — Henry David Thoreau

Sensational Quotes about Authors

 and Their Books

Perhaps you have an arrogant acquaintance or best friend who has been fortunate to have a book or two published while you struggle to write one or have it published.

To put the arrogant author in his or her place, here are a number of things you can say:

I have read your book and much like it.
— Moses Hadas

Your book left me begging for less.
— Author Unknown

From the time I picked up your book until I put it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Sometime I intend to read it.
— Groucho Marx to author S.J. Perelman

Your book is really heavy. Once I put it down, I couldn't pick it up.
— Author Unknown

Fine words! I wonder where you stole them.
— Jonathan Swift

As a work of art, it [the book] has the same status as a long conversation between two not-very-bright drunks.
— critic Clive James on Judith Krantz's bestseller Princess Daisy

I found nothing really wrong with this autobiography except poor choice of subject.
— critic Clifton Fadiman on Gertrude Stein's Everybody's Autobiography

Where will I ever find the time for not reading your book?
— Unknown wise person

I took Eugene Sue's Arthur from the reading-room. It's indescribable, enough to make you vomit. You have to read this to realize the pitifulness of money, success, and the public. Literature has become consumptive. It spits and slobbers, covers its blisters with salve and sticking-plaster, and has grown bald from too much hair-slicking. It would take Christ of art to cure this leper.
— author Gustave Flaubert

Thanks for giving me a copy of your book. I won't waste any time in reading it.
— Moses Hadas 

He is able to turn an unplotted, unworkable manuscript into an unplotted, unwokable manuscript with a lot of sex.
— critic Tom Volpe on bestselling novelist Harold Robbins

I don't know what to say about this book. The experience on which it is founded is so extraordinary, that an honest record of it should be preserved . . . But it would have driven me mad; and I am not sure that the author came out of it without a slight derangement.
— George Bernard Shaw
, about 250 Times I Saw a Play by Keight Odo Newman published in England by Pelagos Press in 1944. (Apparently the author fails to mention what the play was, who wrote it, where it was performed, and who acted in it.)

In your fat book there is a thin book waiting to get out.
— Unknown wise person

Your tome is both good and original. The problem is that what is original is not good and what is good is not original.
— Unknown wise person

I regard this novel as a work without any redeeming social value, unless it can be recycled as a cardboard box.
— Ellen Goodman, columnist, on Danielle Steel's Message from Nam

There's less in your book than first meets the eye.
— Unknown wise person

A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.
— Ernest Hemingway

Valley of the Dolls — For the reader who has put away comic books but isn't ready for editorials in the Daily News.
— Gloria Steinem in New York Times Book Reviews of Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls

The covers of this book are too far apart.
— Ambrose Bierce

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.
— Dorothy Parker, Writer

There are two kinds of book: those that no one likes reading and those that no one ought to read. Yours falls into both categories.
— Author Unknown

Your tome is both original and good. The problem is that what is original is not good and what is good is not original.
— Author Unknown

There's less in your book than first meets the eye.
— Author Unknown

Your book should have been titled Words in Search of Meaning.
— Author Unknown

The books I haven't written are better than the ones you have.
— Cyril V. Connally

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Author of The World's Best Retirement Book


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