The writing life is a grind. As much as I love it, some days I don’t feel like picking up a pen or even reading a book. I know I’m not alone in this. So I did some digging, and sought the wisdom of other writers. Enjoy this list of inspirational quotes for writers having a bad day, alongside my two sense of them.
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” - Terry Pratchett
Yes, one million times yes. Even if you’ve thoroughly drafted your novel, that doesn’t mean all of the pieces are going to align. If I’ve learned anything from pursuing writing, it’s that inspiration comes in the moment and that it shouldn’t be ignored. Inevitably, your first draft is going to change, and that’s okay. Guess what, you’re the writer, and this go around it’s only about one person - you. So get the first draft down in ink, cut yourself some slack, and enjoy your hard work.
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” - Jodi Picoult
The writer versus the blank page. It’s probably the biggest rivalry in all of history. Basically, you can’t be a writer without filling a page. And trust me, I realize that it’s easier for me to say that than actually do it.
We’ve all been there, and as writers, we know how important it is to plow through it and return to it later and fix it. Editing is going to be required. No writer is perfect. So quit editing as you write.
“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 worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” - Sylvia Plath
Ever stare at the computer and have an existential breakdown?
Mine usually accompanies the question: “What do I have to write about?”
Writers are nervy. We think other people care about what we have to say. What we write. Our ideas and weird stories. We’re allowed to be and feel all of these things because we all have something to contribute to the great art of writing.
If you’re feeling stuck, make a list of important moments in your life. They can be turning points, times of joy, or things that make you sad. Use these lists to help inspire your writing. Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or anything in between, these moments can help fuel your work.
And to that end…
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” - Maya Angelou
Writing is cathartic. As writers, we carry words inside of us, and they’re meant to be put down; we have to get them out.
Some stories are meant to be written. That doesn’t mean they have to be shared.
Stop letting these stories eat you alive. Expel them, and banish them to a page. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this, and how much lighter I feel because of it.
"It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different." - Scott Berkun
Writers, like anything made of organic material, grow. You’re not going to be perfect, even after you’ve signed the book contract you’ve dreamed. You’re not going to be perfect, ever.
Writing is as much about the first draft as it is about editing, receiving feedback, revising, and re-working. Guess what? THAT’S OKAY, and it’s normal.
As writers, we have to continue to hold ourselves and one another accountable. We must stop being scared, and allowing that to consume our art. Instead, we must push through the struggles, upsets, and pages we decide to simply trash, and embrace the process of writing, be it good or just plain awful.
Inspirational Quotes for Writers
Maybe you don’t need to hear these today, but who knows about tomorrow. Finding inspiration to write can seem impossible at times, so use these inspirational quotes and motivation on an as needed basis.
And just as reminder - you’re awesome, so keep writing!