Writing Inspiration


I enjoy sharing quotes that inspire me about writing and life in general. Enjoy those below and feel free share them too. Come back later. I’ll add to these occasionally.

“Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”


“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.” ~Anais Nin

“Much of our lives involves the word “no.” In school we are mostly told, “Don’t do it this way. Do it that way.” But art is the big yes. In art, you get a chance to make something where there was nothing.” ~Marvin Bell

Respect your reader. The niftiest turn of phrase, the most elegant flight of rhetorical fancy, isn’t worth beans next to a clear thought clearly expressed. ~JEFF GREENFIELD

“…in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.” ~C.S. Lewis

These are the last sentences in Lewis’s book An Experiment in Criticism — a book that has greatly influenced (and improved) the way I read and evaluate books. It’s more about reading great literature than writing it, but I thought I’d share it anyway. His point is that in literature, we see life through the eyes of others without ever sacrificing our own individuality–a profound insight.

“The heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” ~Thomas S. Monson

I can be terribly lazy. It’s good to be reminded that people who make a difference — the great ones — do so more by hard work than by moments of sudden inspiration.

“Writing is ninety percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.” ~PAUL RUDNICK

I guess maybe there’s another side to this after all!

About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Diane

    The quote above that is attributed to Monson is actually an excerpt from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It’s one of my favorite quotes that has stuck with me since junior high school.

    “The heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”
    –“The Ladder of St. Augustine,” 1858.

    Here’s to celebrating the actual source of our inspiration!


    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko03-11-2015

      You are correct. I wonder how that wrong attribution got circulated. I will correct ASAP.

  2. Rhonda Barfield
    Rhonda Barfield09-18-2013

    I love the first two quotes but simply can’t relate to Rudnick’s. I’m getting UP at 5:00 or 5:30am– an hour past 4:00. :/

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko09-19-2013

      I’m sorry to say that I completely relate to the last quote. In fact, that’s why I shared it. 🙂

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