A good writing quote can give me goosebumps.
For those days when the well is feeling dry and a tad echo-y, I keep a running list of my favorite quotes—things I’ve read, things I’ve edited, things I’ve found in the WD archives, things people have said to me in interviews.
Such tiny, perfect revelations.
A couple of years ago, I posted a portion of this list on my old WD blog (around the same time we ran a great quote feature on 90 tips from bestselling authors in the magazine). Recently, someone asked if I was still collecting quotes.
Here’s the latest iteration of the list. (I’d love to expand it, too—please share some of your favourites in the Comments section of this blog post.)
Happy Friday, and happy writing.
“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
—Allen Ginsberg, WD
“Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”
—William S. Burroughs
“All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.”
—Steve Almond, WD
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”
—Jack Kerouac, WD
“Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.”
—Hunter S. Thompson
“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”
“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl, WD
“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.”
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.”
—Stephen King, WD (this quote is from an interview with King in our May/June 2009 issue)
“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”
“To defend what you’ve written is a sign that you are alive.”
—William Zinsser, WD
“If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, all of us.”
“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
—Catherine Drinker Bowen
“Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. … I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.”
“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.”
—John Updike, WD
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King, WD
“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.”
“I’m out there to clean the plate. Once they’ve read what I’ve written on a subject, I want them to think, ‘That’s it!’ I think the highest aspiration people in our trade can have is that once they’ve written a story, nobody will ever try it again.”
—Richard Ben Cramer
“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”
“Style means the right word. The rest matters little.”
“Style is to forget all styles.”
“I do not over-intellectualise the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.”
—Tom Clancy, WD
“The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again.”
—Eudora Welty, WD
“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.”
—Lawrence Block, WD
“Don’t expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.”
—Leslie Gordon Barnard, WD
“If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!”
—Fred East, WD
“Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.”
—Leigh Brackett, WD
“The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.”
—Joyce Carol Oates, WD
“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King, WD
“Genius gives birth, talent delivers. What Rembrandt or Van Gogh saw in the night can never be seen again. Born writers of the future are amazed already at what they’re seeing now, what we’ll all see in time for the first time, and then see imitated many times by made writers.”
–Jack Kerouac, WD
“Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.”
—Jim Tully, WD
“All stories have to at least try to explain some small portion of the meaning of life. You can do that in 20 minutes, and 15 inches. I still remember a piece that the great Barry Bearak did in TheMiami Herald some 30 years ago. It was a nothing story, really: Some high school kid was leading a campaign to ban books he found offensive from the school library. Bearak didn’t even have an interview with the kid, who was ducking him. The story was short, mostly about the issue. But Bearak had a fact that he withheld until the kicker. The fact put the whole story, subtly, in complete perspective. The kicker noted the true, wonderful fact that the kid was not in school that day because “his ulcer was acting up.” Meaning of life, 15 inches.”
—Gene Weingarten, WD
“Beware of advice—even this.”
—Carl Sandburg, WD
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
—Harper Lee, WD
“I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that’s the job of art.”
—Andre Dubus III, WD (this quote is from an interview with Dubus in our July/August 2012 issue)
“Geniuses can be scintillating and geniuses can be somber, but it’s that inescapable sorrowful depth that shines through—originality.”
—Jack Kerouac, WD
“People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”
—R.L. Stine, WD (this quote is from an interview with Stine that ran in our November/December 2011 issue)
“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD
“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD
“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD
“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD
“I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
“Writers are always selling somebody out.”
“Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”
—Robert A. Heinlein
“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.”
“There is only one plot—things are not what they seem.”
“Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels.”
“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.”
—William Carlos Williams
“The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.”
“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.”
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
“You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.”
“When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.”
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
“I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.”
“Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”
“A book is simply the container of an idea—like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.”
“I almost always urge people to write in the first person. … Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.”
“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”
—Henry David Thoreau
“You don’t actually have to write anything until you’ve thought it out. This is an enormous relief, and you can sit there searching for the point at which the story becomes a toboggan and starts to slide.”
—Marie de Nervaud, WD
“Whether a character in your novel is full of choler, bile, phlegm, blood or plain old buffalo chips, the fire of life is in there, too, as long as that character lives.”
—James Alexander Thom
“Writers live twice.”
Zachary Petit is an award-winning journalist, the senior managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine, and the co-author of A Year of Writing Prompts: 366 Story Ideas for Honing Your Craft and Eliminating Writer’s Block.
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‘Work is Worship’ is a proverb that refers to the importance and value of work in our life. In this proverb, an honest work is said that it is worship; because it is our honest work only which satisfies our all needs and takes us to the heights of success.
Essay on Work is Worship
Now-a-days, essay writing is in practice in the schools and colleges. It is a good strategy followed by teachers in the schools and colleges in order to enhance the English writing skill and knowledge of the students about any topic. It is an effective way to get views, new ideas and positive suggestions by the students about any topic. Following are some paragraphs, short essays and long essays on Work is Worship to help students in completing their task in the classroom. All the Work is Worship essay are written very simply. So, you can select any essay according to your need and requirement:
Work is Worship Essay 1 (100 words)
If we understand the real meaning of work is worship, work is really the real worship as without work our life is waste. If we follow it well all through our life, it acts as the key to success, progress and happiness. If people understand its meaning in true sense, it will surely positively change the scenario of world economy and help people to strongly face the tougher challenges in life. However, we cannot ignore the type of people living together on this planet. Worker earns honestly, idle people depends on others like a parasite, etc. Our life and body get rust if we spend it without any work, aim or purpose. Hard work is the way to get greatness in life. It is considered that, only people who take interest in their work do worship heartily.
Work is Worship Essay 2 (150 words)
Work is worship is a famous proverb which compares the work with worship. It does not even compare; it is telling about the surety that work is worship. It tells us that, it is not important to worship for hours at home or temple to get the God; it is enough to be intermingled with full interest in our work to get success and the blessings of God too. The works done in the offices, factories or other fields is more valuable than the worship done in temple, church or mosque. Work in real means is the physical or mental effort done to maintain well-being lifestyle all through the life. We work to earn money to bring physical, mental, psychological and social happiness which ultimately balance the state of body, mind and soul. Satisfaction comes through the work keeps body and mind happy which satisfies the soul more than the worship does.
Work is Worship Essay 3 (200 words)
Life, given by God on the earth, is very beautiful. We have already provided all the necessary things required to live a happy life. However, most of the people do not understand the essence of life and start following bad ways. Work is worship is a proverb which tells us that work is the real worship and not worshiping for hours in the temple. The happiness and satisfaction we get from the work cannot get the same through the worship. If the person has faith at own hard work, he/she cannot lose hope even when life becomes miserable.
We should take our work as worship and get involved in this with peaceful mind and soul. It will give us the real pleasure of life. So, we must worship our work. Worshiping our work values a lot; more than worshiping in temple. If we see towards history, we found that all the great people who had achieved greatness, only because of their huge passion in the work in their respective fields. They were the person who had not done different things, but they done things differently with high level of passion and commitment in their work. Work is the true essence of life which brings great ideas in the mind and makes people great personalities.
Work is Worship Essay 4 (250 words)
Work is worship is the famous proverb which means that work is worship in the true sense. Work is truly the worship to the man because without work he cannot survive on the earth. It is our work which gives us new face and adds meaning to the life. Without work life will be dull, uninteresting, idle and monotonous. Great civilization and culture can be achieved only through the committed work. Man is the most intelligent, skilled and capable creation of the God who can make anything possible through the hard work that’s why work is highly valued over worship. Man has a more intelligent brain using which he can decide the right work to reach to the logical conclusion.
An idle man who does not involve in his work interestingly, generally become an unhappy person. It is well said that an idle mind becomes devil’s workshop. The nation becomes stronger when its manpower is fully and suitably employed in the interested field. Without work one cannot get a worth living. Working with full commitment in our interested field gives us real peace and satisfaction which leads us towards success. Continuous work makes us more capable day by day which develops lots of confidence. We should work for improvement and stability within us and not for awards and glory. We should not be lazy and work with harmony with the huge desire to progress.
Work is Worship Essay 5 (300 words)
As we all know about the famous proverb ‘work is worship’ which means that without work no one can be blessed by the blessing of God. One who is lazy cannot please the God even when he/she worship for many hours; however, one who is committed to his/her work can easily please the God even when he/she remembers the God only once a day or not. Man is considered as the most intelligent creation of the God. The life of man is completely depends on their hard work unlike other animals, birds, etc. Man cannot get anything without work even a lazy man starts losing his mind because ‘An idle man’s brain is the devil’s workshop’.
The whole civilization of man has been evolved for years only because of their hard work. All the inventions and discoveries in the field of science are resulted as the human’s continuous hard work with patience. Constant work in the right direction and in the right field leads people towards successful career and further progress in future. Work is not like worship but work is worship which we all should follow in our life. We cannot get anything to eat without work, we have to arrange all the necessities then we can live our life.
People, who work regularly and systematically, show better results than the lazy people. All the great personalities’ lives are the example of hard works they have done during their lifetime. Continuous hard work does not only lead to the better results but also increases the self-confidence level. Developed nations all over world (like USA, Japan, China, Germany, etc) are only through their hard works individually and collectively. Lord Vishwakarma is worshiped in India as the great god of the workers to get blessings in order to continue the hard work. However, most of the people become very lazy and expect more than their work.
Work is Worship Essay 6 (400 words)
Whole life is a struggle and we have to be attentive through our hard work to win the battle of life. All the lives taken birth on this planet will die a day. So, to run our life most fluently in the best way, we have to be committed to our work. Time does not wait for anyone so we must make our every minute useful. Our life is full of various events and actions. People are blessed who complete their work timely; however, those who do not, but postpone or hesitate in doing their work, achieve nothing in the life. Lazy people can never achieve the heights of glory whereas active people win a list of glory.
People who have short life but full of action are much better than the people having long life but full of inactivity and laziness. It is truly said that people with one crowded hour have worthy glorious life than those who have long life without a name. Man life is counted in quality deeds but not in years because age and longevity of a man does not matter however work matters. This proverb ‘work is worship’ tells us about the worth of work together with the worship. It compares the work of man with the worship of God. The right example is, oak tree lives for years (almost three hundred) however when it falls down, its wood is bald and useless for us. On the other hand, lily flowers lives for a day only but it gives a memorable fragrance all around us which creates joy and pleasure within us.
Our noble thoughts are useless if we do not transform them into golden deeds. We should not waste our time in crying for the sorrowful past, doing wrong deeds, or waiting for the right time to start a work. All time is best to start a nice work and win the success. If we compare between work and worship, we find that God also become happy with hard working man instead of lazy man without work. So, we can say that work is worship because worship without work is nothing however work without worship is everything. We should consider our work as worship and try to be busy in the hard work. Work adds meaning to the life and brings confidence and salvation. Work is a best exercise to our body and mind which brings real pleasure in life. Work is also the way to new opportunities together with the skill development.