Top 10 Quotes About Writing and Creativity

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Here are some of my favorite quotes about writing and creativity. I love them. I collect them. I use them to keep going with my writing life. I hope they will benefit you in some way, too. By the way, they aren’t just quotes about writing. They are quotes that will help you in any creative endeavor.


  • “What a writer can do, what a fiction writer or a poet or an essay writer can do, is re-engage people with their own humanity. Fiction and essays can create empathy for the theoretical stranger.” –Barbara Kingsolver


  • “There’s room for everybody on the planet to be creative and conscious if you are your own person. If you’re trying to be like somebody else, then there isn’t.”- Tori Amos


  • Everyone deserves Sanctuary a place to go where you are safe
    Art offers Sanctuary to everyone willing
    to open their hearts as well as their eyes
    “Art Sanctuary” by Nikki Giovanni, from Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea.


  • Joy Williams said: “The writer doesn’t trust his enemies, of course, who are wrong about his writing, but he doesn’t trust his friends, either, who he hopes are right. The writer trusts nothing he writes — it should be too reckless and alive for that, it should be beautiful and menacing and slightly out of his control. It should want to live itself somehow.”


  • Julian Barnes said that a great book “is a book that describes the world in a way that has not been done before; and that is recognized by those who read it as telling new truths — about society or the way in which emotional lives are led, or both.”


  •  “Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence.” Alice Walker


  • Stories have to be told
    or they die,
    and when they die,
    we can’t remember
    who we are
    or why we are here.
    Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees


  • “When I’m writing, I am concentrating almost wholly on concrete detail: the color a room is painted, thequotes about writing way a drop of water rolls off a wet leaf after a rain.” –Novelist, Donna Tartt


  • “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” –Madeleine L’Engle


  • “I have this sense of urgency about what I want to get done and I discipline myself by keeping to myself.” –Marilynne Robinson


Do any of these quotes speak to you? What’s your favorite? As always, I’d love to hear from you.


P.S. I am an ex-shrink who writes novels. Check out my books here.


  1. I really like the Sue Monk Kidd quote, not so much about writing, but about people. I read this book called “The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam” wherein the author, Ann Marie Fleming, researches the life of her great-grandfather (Long Tack Sam) and tells his story. She makes the point at the end of the book that many of the people she’d interviewed died shortly after she’d interviewed them, and if she hadn’t collected their stories, those stories would have been gone forever too. It really made me think about my deceased grandmother, whom my daughter is named after. The only way my daughter can know her namesake is through the stories people tell her. Which brings me back to the Kidd quote.

  2. Hi Sonja,
    The Sue Monk Kidd quote is my favorite, too. One of my passions is helping people preserve their family stories (my day job)and create a kind of family time capsule so that the people and their stories won’t be forgotten (including stories about us!). It is very rewarding work. Thanks for sharing about Long Tack Sam and your grandmother.

    P.S. Family Time Capsule info can be found at

  3. Julian Barnes said that a great book “is a book that describes the world in a way that has not been done before; and that is recognized by those who read it as telling new truths — about society or the way in which emotional lives are led, or both.”


    Then there’s always Stephen Sondheim: “My idea of heaven is not writing.” 😉

  4. Should I be concerned that I can’t identify with the Sondheim quote at all?!?

  5. Well the ironic thing is in a way he’s fullovit, though I think what he means is when he’s writing he obsesses and goes pretty crazy. To call him a perfectionist is an understatement.

  6. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but I love Madeleine L’Engle’s take on books. So often people see children’s literature as dumbed down, when, in reality, the best children’s books are stronger, deeper, and more enduring than adult fiction. When a child falls in love with a book, it’s forever. And that book can shape the rest of his/her life. Few adult books have that power. That’s why I’ve always been so passionate about the creation of top-quality literature for children.

  7. Hi Laurie,
    I totally agree with you. A lot of adult readers will read young adult and middle grade novels because there’s so much more to them. A children’s book will often feed the imagination to a greater extent. Personally, I think it’s much harder to write a really good children’s book than an adult book. And I certainly know it’s much harder to get them published. Thanks for all the work you’re doing in that arena!!

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