10 Essential Quotes on Becoming a Writer (plus one of my own)
I first wanted to become a writer because I read those great books (you know the ones: Great Expectations and Harry Potter and Les Miserables and On the Road) and thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to do this all day, to spend your afternoons having conversations with interesting characters and dealing with the deep challenges of the soul?”
I didn’t begin actually writing regularly, though, until much later. First, I wrote a few songs, about twenty actually—terrible things, but they were thrilling to write. Then, because I thought I was going to become a rock star, I started a blog to promote my music. I found, by accident, that I preferred to write paragraphs than verse.
And so it began.
Since then, I’ve written books and magazine articles and blog posts and website copy, both professionally and for my own pleasure, and I’m very grateful to say that after years of dreaming (and many more of hard work) I’ve become a full-time, professional writer.
However, it all began out of a deep awe of the books that had touched the hidden places inside of me, and a profound respect for the authors who wrote them.
10 Quotes on How to Become a Writer
Some of these quotes, I’ve been collecting for years, others I found only recently, but all of them speak to universal truths about why people become writers and how to become a writer. I hope you enjoy the quotes as much as I enjoyed discovering them.
1. “A person is a fool to become a writer…”
“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” —Roald Dahl
2. “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers…”
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” —Dorothy Parker
3. “… They stop being writers.”
“Writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers.” —Charles Bukowski
4. “When writers die they become books…”
“When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation.” Jorge Luis Borges
5. “The entire reason for becoming a writer…”
“As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.” —Neil Gaiman
6. “But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth…”
“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” —Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
7. “A professional writer is…”
“A professional writer is an amateur who did quit.” —Richard Bach
8. “Don’t be a ‘writer.'”
“Don’t be a ‘writer.’ Be writing.” —William Faulkner
9. “… You need to become the person you need to become to write that book.”
“In order to writer the book you want to write, in the end you have to become the person the person you need to become to write that book.” —Junot Diaz
10. “These things are your becoming.”
“The useless days days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels…. These things are your becoming.” —Cheryl Strayed
10 Steps to Becoming a Writer
If you’d like to become a writer, we recently released a short, 10-step guide on the process of becoming a writer. You can find it by clicking the download button below or clicking here: 10 Steps to Becoming a Writer
Here’s one last quote on becoming a writer, this one from me.
“No one is born a writer. You must become a writer. In fact, you never cease becoming, because you never stop learning how to write. Even now, I am becoming a writer. And so are you.” —Joe Bunting
Why do you want to become a writer? Let us know if the comments section.
William Faulkner said, “Don’t be a ‘writer.’ Be writing,” but is it too much to ask for both?
For your writing practice today, write for fifteen minutes about your experience being a writer. Describe your daily writing habits (or lack thereof!). Write about what it feels like to write.
When your time is up, share your practice in the comments section. And if you share, please be sure to comment on a few practices by other writers.
Enjoy becoming a writer today!