Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Soul searching

Poet and critic Rainer Maria Rilke once said: “In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself: ‘Must I write?’”

This is one of my favorite quotes about writing. What great quotes about writing (or just great quotes in general) stick with/inspire you?


  1. What a great quote. So inspiring! One of my favorite quotes is as much about life as writing -- "everyone makes mistakes; that's why pencils have erasers."

    It reminds me that it's okay to write it down, to get it out -- whatever it is! -- and that I can always go back and fix it later.

  2. What a fantastic quote!!! Very inspiring, I love so many but I'll share only one.

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

  3. Nice quote.
    I like....

    "It is done, is never said of us." -Emily Dickenson

    "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." - Red Smith

    "Suffering is the main condition of the artistic experience." - Samuel Beckett

    A few of my favorites.


  4. Writing is rewriting.

    And almost anything by Lord Byron.

    I love quotes. Thanks for sharing a good one with us. :)


  5. Love that quote! I think my favorite is one from Mark Twain. It's a little over-used and cliche and the source is actually a little doubtful... but it's still true. "When you look back on life, you'll regret more the things you didn't do than the things you did." That and "I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun," Katharine Hepburn.

  6. I love the writerly quotes like this I run across daily on blogs. They're so inspiring and I keep thinking I should write them all down!

  7. I read on a blog yesterday that if you can stop writing and not feel empty, then maybe you aren't a writer. At least I think that's what it said. Hmmm. Maybe I just made that up.

    Works for me. If I'm not working on something to do with my wip, then I feel like something is missing.

  8. I've never been good with remembering quotes! I wish I could contribute :(

  9. Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird is chock-full of inspiration--it would be hard to pick just one fave.

    Barbara Demarco-Barrett's Pen on Fire has a great chapter on persistence that says something along the lines of "professionals are just amateurs who didn't give up." (Not sure I got that verbatim--I loaned out my copy of the book to a CP in need of encouragement.)

  10. I enjoyed your post and the insuing commentaries supplementing it. Good for the soul.

  11. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou

  12. "All first drafts are shit." Hemingway, paraphrased.

    "Murder your darlings." Quiller-Couch

    "Write big, write arrogant, write unbelievably tall; write with inspiration, passion, patience and truth; write unabashedly; write with wit; write with huge looping letters, crowding everyone else from the page; and write little words between, above and below; write persistently; write with purpose; write with the nerve-wracking suspense of a teetering tightrope walker about to fall; now fall; write against the grain; write with the ever-changing flow of the masses; write with the sudden ferocity of a shark attack and drag the reader into your darkest depths; write first for yourself; write again for others; write it obnoxiously in the sky and dare the wind to blow it away.

    Or write not at all.

    To the wind I say: Blow ~me~ away."

    That last one, the long one, was me.

    - Eric

  13. I love that quote, it truly is infinitely poignant. One of my all time favourite quotes is this poetry quote by W.H. Auden, "A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." When I read that, it just clicked, I related to it instantly.

  14. That is a great quote! It hits me just right as I sit here typing at 4 a.m. :-)