“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
—Louis L’Amour

5 Writers Quotes To Keep You Inspired Until Spring

For me, spring is an incredible time of unbounded energy and enthusiasm … and with it, an inevitable spurt of creativity. Sometimes it seems my pen can hardly keep up with them.

But winter? Oof. Winter’s dark cold days can make it harder to get out of bed, let alone muster up the will to write.

Writers Quotes for Cold Winter Days

But whether Punxsutawney Phil foresees a swift end to the madness or another six weeks, don’t let the season hold you back. Here are some of my favorite writers’ quotes to warm your creative spirit and keep you going through this sometimes dreary season.

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for most people.” —Thomas Mann

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for most people.” —Thomas Mann quote

It only seems right to open with this definition of a writer from Thomas Mann. I consider it a kind reminder that it’s okay if writing seems insurmountably difficult sometimes—in fact, it’s actually a really good sign. It means you’re wrestling with your words, and that’s just what a writer ought to be doing. Keep challenging yourself.

“You fail only if you stop writing.” —Ray Bradbury

You fail only if you stop writing. Ray Bradbury quote

My own author hero here, Ray Bradury, with a quality nugget of wisdom. Bradbury was a strong believer in the quantity breeds quality approach, and you can’t argue with his results. So when in doubt, write more.

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” —Natalie Goldberg

Write what disturbs you. Natalie Goldberg quote

For the individual who cannot for the life of them figure out what to write about, this advice from Natalie Goldberg is the ultimate word in creative prompts. These dark cold months are a perfect time to draw into yourself and do a little soul-searching.

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” —Richard Bach

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. Richard Bach quote

For those days when your dreams of success just seem so, so far away, this Richard Bach quote reminds us that no matter how long the journey may feel, the only way to get there is to keep taking steps forward.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” —Louis L’Amour

Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow unless the faucet is turned on. Louis L'Amour quote

This quote is a great reminder from Louis L’Amour not to sit around waiting for inspiration. Go do it! Get those fingers typing and put some words on the page. When your muse sees you’ve gone on without her, she’ll hurry to catch up as quickly as she can.

Whether winter is coming to a fast end or we have another six weeks of it, I hope you’re feeling inspired to hit that blank page. Don’t let those sub-freezing temperatures and early sunsets get you down! Just keep on writing, and those early spring flowers will be popping through the snow before you know it.

Does winter wear on your writer’s spirit? What are your favorite writers quotes? Let us know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Does winter ever get you down? Take one of these writers’ quotes or another inspiration of your choice and write it out in bright colors, post it near your work space to encourage yourself when you feel inspiration is low, and then get writing!

Write something, whether it’s your work in progress or something new, for fifteen minutes. When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, please be sure to leave comments on the practices of your fellow writers.

About Emily Wenstrom

By day, Emily Wenstrom, is the editor of short story website wordhaus, author social media coach, and freelance content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, a sci-fi and fantasy author whose first novel Mud will release in March 2016.

  • Susan W A

    “When your muse sees you’ve gone on without her, she’ll hurry to catch up as quickly as she can.’ LOVELY.

    Part of my current inspiration is to let go of thoughts of perfection because it ain’t coming to my doorstep any time soon. Just jump in and do SOMETHING!

    Thus, I’m responding to your fun post as soon as I read it. Enjoyed the quotes and will use them as fuel for thought. Want to let you know, too, that I teach ESL Academic Writing at a community college. I’ll be showing my students these quotes.

    Thanks, and have a perfectly wonderful wintery day filled with movements toward the perceived “out of my reach”. After all, each step, no matter how small, moves us towards the goal. The race is on with my muse! hee hee : )

  • “Do not think, dream,” says author Richard Bausch. His list of Ten Commandments will set a writer straight. I must say I loved Thomas Mann’s quote the best. How we agonize over getting the words all in the right order. It hurts so good!

    • I love that quote! Thanks for sharing, PJ.

    • Susan W A

      “How we agonize over getting the words all in the right order.” Love it!

      Thanks for the reference to the author and his list. Great bits of advice. Here’s a link: http://arts.gov/operation-homecoming/essays-writing/letter-young-writer

      Turns out he is a professor at a college about 15 minutes from my house.

      • Lucky you! I’d stalk him for the purpose of buying him a coffee and who knows how he might help you down the line. I think the writing community is moving towards a more “communal” and helpful ethos.

  • Marie Madigan

    I love that Thomas Mann quote. It’s going on a post-it note on my desk right now, next to this one from Malcolm Gladwell: ‘The first eight drafts are terrible.’

    • Susan W A

      First 8 drafts… great reminder, just like every inventor or successful athlete, entrepreneur, etc. knows.

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    No. 5 made me smile – thank you, Emily! Aah – I spent the whole of last evening worried about how to start an assignment. Obviously, I got nowhere and am now hustling to complete an assignment – but at least I have opened the faucet! LOL

    My favorite ‘writing’ quote is courtesy my mentor, Ms. Katherine Kotaw, who said: “Seek stories everywhere” 😀

    Thanks again
    Kitto

    • I like that quote! It’s so true. Everyday life is so full of inspiration for stories. Sometimes we’ve just gotta add a dash of imagination. 🙂

    • Susan W A

      “Seek stories everywhere” … Awesome. The TWP contributors remind me of this every day, and instruct me in the art of observation, reflection and reimagining.

  • Trooper Justice

    By Tony Chianese

    I remember driving down the road. I was in front and Candice following behind
    in the black Land Rover. As I passed
    under an overpass, I realize that I had missed the exit and since there was
    little or no traffic, I slowed down and motioned to her to follow me as I turned
    my car around, crossing the highway.

    I saw her frantically waving and shaking her head, but I
    continued making my turn. Candice
    followed hesitantly and then I noticed the flashing red light of a State
    trooper black and grey. Realizing its all over, I pulled into the turn around
    and awaited the undoubtable ticket and admonitions.

    Candice sat, humiliated and crestfallen in the Rover. The trooper walked up to my window and very
    politely asked how my day was going. Would
    I mind getting out of my car? I thought
    it strange but obliged not wanting to get into even more trouble. We walked over to some signposts of various
    sizes that were standing on their sides near a utility building. He turned to me and asked if I would like to
    hear an alternative to a rather large ticket and innumerable increases to my
    insurance premiums. I looked at him and
    agreed to examine the alternative. He pointed
    to several cans of trooper green paint and brushes, along with other
    paraphernalia suggesting that painting these signs would alleviate any further
    penalties.

    Seeing the enormity of the task, I looked at the officer and
    as if he knew, he said there was more of me awaiting the paint detail. It seems
    others have done what I had done and opted for the arts and crafts project
    offered by the police. I looked at
    Candice who by this time had followed us to the paint cabinet and awaited her
    comment. She said that she wanted to
    call ahead to our original destination and tell them that we would be
    late. The trooper had no objection and
    she made the call. Thus, we all picked
    a brush and a can of paint and began our Olympian task.

    Since lunch was offered as part of the work detail, we all
    followed the trooper to a nearby diner where a large buffet like table was set
    up. There were no other diners on site
    as it was now about 3:30 In the afternoon. It was quite a spread and as we
    looked at one another we realized that this wasn’t the worst thing that could
    have happened but certainly the strangest.

    • Susan W A

      Yes, strange indeed. I just started reading Fahrenheit 451, so it makes me wonder what kind of society has developed in your story that this would happen.

      “opted for the arts and crafts project” and “Olympian task” – nice contrast bringing the reader to imagine the task.

      • Thank you Susan. Fortunately this could happen in today’s society, especially if you’re driving in the “bad lands”….

  • I dream of spring, when the world turns green again.

    I dream of playing my guitar outside in the sunshine and listening to the birds twittering in the treetops.

    I dream of something else that spring will bring too.

    High school graduation.

    In many ways my senior year has been my best year of school. I’ve learned so much, studied hard, and can now see the finish line in sight. Perhaps knowing that I’m almost graduated causes me to enjoy it more. For twelve years I’ve been homeschooled, and now life is about to change…

    But will it really change that much?

    I suppose it will in some ways. I’ll still be learning and growing and studying–that’s a way of life for me–but soon I’ll be able to choose what I want to study. I’ll be able to devote more time to what I love–writing and studying the great art of fiction.

    But for now, it’s still winter, and I’m snuggling up with blankets to keep warm and reading my many school books, like a good little student.

    Spring is smiling in the distance though, and I can’t wait to greet her.

    • Susan W A

      I enjoyed the images and the anticipation!

      –>”I dream of spring, when the world turns green again.”

      –>”I dream of playing my guitar outside in the sunshine and listening to the birds twittering in the treetops” This was cool. I could imagine you sitting on a grassy hill, warmed by the sunshine, cooled by a slight breeze, with the birds adding to the musical experience.

      –>”…and I’m snuggling up with blankets to keep warm”

      –>”Spring is smiling in the distance though, and I can’t wait to greet her.”

      –> “I’ll still be learning and growing and studying–that’s a way of life for me–”
      I’m there with you!

      • Thank you, Susan. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. 🙂

  • christih

    They entered the doctor’s office as a mass blob of noise and sniffles and coughing. Mom headed up the line but the two girls didn’t walk in single file. They jostled and shoved for a place directly behind Mom and when Mom stopped at the front desk one of the girls ran into her knees and the other quieted a giggle. Mom was juggling a baby, her purse, her insurance card, cell phone, and a large blanket that later served her well over the half hour wait. Refusing to be patient and wait quietly, the girls left to really make themselves at home in the waiting room.

    Saying hi to the other patrons and doing a complete round, the girls finally came up blank in front of the tv screen. One of the girls ran over to ask mom for help at which point the lady behind the desk reached over and pushed play on the remote. The little girl skipped back to her seat while Mom just sighed at seeing the movie start up.

    Other sin the waiting room had a mixed reaction to many of the hijinks of the little
    people. Some smiled indulgently, happy they had chosen seats on the other side of the room. Some simply ignored the people, staring at phones or magazines. Others watched warily hoping nobody would come up.

    But Bart’s reaction was different. He approached the two little girls who were now hanging off the water fountain trying to take a drink without getting soaked. He helped them up and held the buttons patiently for each of them. Then he asked them their names, ages, and why they were at the doctors.

    “We’re here for our Mom. She’s sick!” the little one shouted. He chuckled. She was a curly-haired blonde and blue-eyed, about five and looked like a doll whose hair hasn’t been brushed for a while. “Rachel, don’t shout” the older one said in a superior tone. She had thick straight hair in a darker shade, but those same blue eyes, and she looked like she had rolled out of bed. “Mom’s hoping to get some medicine for her cough” she told Bart knowingly.

    Nodding at her seriousness Bart smiled and replied “I’m sure that the doctor will help your mom.” “Ch-ch” Mom sounded, calling the girls back. They instantly responded, excited to tell their mom about the meeting with the old man. “Mom, Mom, guess what! We got to talk to him and we told him our names and everything!”

    Mom covered a roll of her eyes with a soft smile. “I’m sure you did great. Now let’s just sit and wait for a bit until they call us in, okay?” But out of the corner of her eye Olivia saw the old man smile kindly at them as they turned back to the screen.

    • Susan W A

      This is awesome. I was immediately transported to our pediatrician’s waiting room (I thought at first that’s who the doctor’s visit was for). Love the energy of the little girls, their interactions with each other & their mom and with the other people in the waiting room. Bart is one of those precious grownups who “sees” the little kiddos rather than hoping they don’t see him.

      “ran into her knees and the other quieted a giggle” – precious

      Nice job.

    • Hi Christih
      I have just been reading the post at
      http://thewritepractice.com/best-writers-group/

      The practice was to return to a piece of writing we have enjoyed in recent posts and offer constructive feedback. I’ve chosen your post because I really enjoyed the atmosphere of it and the memories it evoked for me ( as a mother when my children were young and playful and boisterous).

      I enjoyed the way you set up the scene with busy young children and a busy Mum, and the way the young children moved around the space of the waiting room.

      There are a few areas where the ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ principle could be applied. For example in the first paragraph stating that the girls didn’t want to walk in single file (telling me the reader) could be deleted as the following sentence shows me (the reader) they were jostling and shovelling around. The same could apply for the last sentence in the first paragraph, the words ‘refusing to be patient and wait quietly’, (telling) is clear when I read that they ‘left to make themselves at home..’ (Shows me that they were off…). There are a few more examples like this you could see and play around with in the rest of the story.

      I also really liked the way you chose age appropriate language for the Girls. For example “Mom, Mom, guess what. We got to talk to him and we told him our names and everything!” I could almost taste the excitement in that sentence. 🙂

      I hope this was helpful to you.

      Regards Dawn

      • christih

        Thanks Dawn! Great notes 🙂

      • Susan W A

        Your show vs. tell examples were helpful to me. You made it clear what the difference is.

  • Diane Turner

    Italy, 2010.
    My friend and I step from the small cafe and alas! the rain had begun. Digging out umbrellas and folding up collars against the wind, we hurry to our hotel. By the time we duck in the front door and shake the rain from our umbrellas, the rain comes in earnest.
    At 3:00 am, unable to sleep, I stand at the window, two flights up, watching and listening to the rain. The wind is gusty and whips at the awnings of Emilio’s Bar across the street. The rain races down the balcony railings and loudly plops onto the street below, before changing direction into a horizontal blast. But, hey, it’s Italy, a rainy, windy early Wednesday morning.
    I do so love it here. It’s a surreal, dreamy landscape I wish to pack in my suitcase – the essence of what makes Italy what it is, has always been, and will continue to be: a single crown, complete with its individual gleaming jewels. Part and parcel of any trip is the residual dust that clings, so in days and years, you remember and are somehow changed. A trip is so much more than the sum of its parts, no?
    And what will I bring away, aside from a very short Roman haircut? You can spend weeks in Italy, drink thick coffee in quaint cafes, lick marinara from dense pasta, wash it down with smooth red wine, but these only tease and hint at the mystery of Italy. It invites you to guess. You fall into the rhythm of days, getting as much as you can hold, and to try to understand what makes the Italian heart tick, its passions, what wonder at what ancient voice it hears. I left without understanding, but surely changed, its vibration deep in my soul.

    • Susan W A

      On behalf of all who have traveled, and more so, all who have lived in another country, I thank you for embodying the essence of how interactions with and just the art of BEING in other environments enriches us.

      • Diane Turner

        Thanks, Susan. 101% agree with you. Looking at the photos or rereading journals kept brings it all back in delightful segments.

  • Lauren Timmins

    We waited, hearts already beating to the tempo. Months and months of practice, through fortes and legatos and repeats, all for a few minutes on stage. We knew this song, by heart. The melody flowed through our blood, our hands, our fingers, our lungs. This song wasn’t like the others. This one meant something, to all of us.
    “One and two and three and four and…”
    The conductor was young, but brilliant. He held the special sort of insanity possessed by the greatest musicians. We could see the music in him too. It was in his arms as he came down on the final “and”. We breathed in unison, then exhaled.
    The music played.
    It was sad, it was low, it was in a minor key. Dark and beautiful, like a stormy night. The strings had the melody and harmony, brass and winds filling in the spaces. I was playing violin that night (I typically played the harp), but it suited the piece. It suited the reason we were playing it. I could feel the loss with each gentle tug of the bow. The conductor was blinking rapidly, stumbling. He was off by half a beat until the great crescendo.
    We played louder, louder, harmonies divided and keys switched to a great conundrum of sound.
    And then we stopped. The silence, the sudden silence ended the piece. At first the audience waited, hoping for something more. Then they rose, applauding. Applauding the memory of our first conductor, applauding his life and his accomplishments, reassuring us that the music would still be here after his passing. As I looked around the string section, not one eye was dull. The new conductor was tearfully thanking them for the night. He was Mr. Demure’s student for a mere two years. He chose the piece is Mr. Demure’s memory, not only because it had been his favorite, but because it ended with a sudden silence, just as Demure had left us all those months ago. Demure was the one who taught us how to feel the music. His student, Mr. Ayers, made us remember again.

    • christih

      I love this! Beautiful writing.

    • A beautiful piece of writing: moving, dramatic, reflective.
      Thanks for sharing.

    • Susan W A

      One word … stunning …

    • Lauren Timmins

      Thank you so much!

    • Diane Turner

      Wow! Simply beautiful.

    • Wow! I LOVE this, Lauren! Even the writing itself has a musical feel to it.

    • This is amazing. Nice flow, nice everything! <3

    • I can picture it. I used to play the flute. Playing for a conductor who is inspiring is something you never forget. And a piece that crescendos to heights that make you feel like you’re touching the ceiling of the auditorium are also unforgettable.

      You captured it.

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  • Title: The Softness of Water

    It’s hot. This big desiccate State is crackling. Crusty earth skin wrinkles beneath tough, gnarly bush and scrub to the north, and piles of withered crispy leaves and twigs suffocate the forest floors to the south.

    Six weeks, high temperatures, little rain, this land is groaning. Parched lips of empty northern rivers split into cracks, gulp for life. Salt rises slowly up through the empty dirt of the western woodlands. Humidity stalks the southern forest floors.

    Heat beats us down, hugs our skin from the inside.

    Storms arrive. Lightening strikes. Fires crack. Fire beats rain. Natures sinister twist on ‘paper, rock, scissor’ thrusts us into alert. Fire alert. Current situation – catastrophic.

    Flames consume hectares and homes, threaten towns, eat up country.

    Evacuations move people, concern relatives, disrupt life. Fear wraps us up. Fear travels faster than fire. Fear leads the way, reaching homes, before the flames, impregnating thoughts before the rain.

    It’s hot.
    I’m not in danger.
    I am in fear.

    Fires, out of control, are roaring only 100 kms to the west. I want rain. Winter rain, not summer storm, lightening rain. I want cold wet winter rain to fall today.

    Fall now – wash the fear away.

    Winter rain will satiate the hungry fire and bathe this dry and crusty state with the softness of water.

    • Diane Turner

      Dawn, what gorgeous, visuals you have included here. I could feel the heat and the parch of the land, hear the crackle of flames, and the dearth of spirit. Beautiful piece.

      • Thanks Diane.

        We are experiencing some alarming fires in the state of Western Australia at the moment.
        Where I live is to the east of one of them. Although I’m not in danger I can feel the fear suffocating me and the skies to the west are smokey grey.

        This prompt was an opportunity to explore the fear and consider the reality of a hot country and the vulnerability of our human existence.

        Dawn

    • Susan W A

      Ditto to what Diane said. The intensity of the situation is palable. For me, having the title there at the beginning of the piece was very effective; I held that phrase in my head, anticipating a bit. The intensity of heat, drought and the impact on lives builds, then when you repeat “softness of water” at the end, I felt a big release of tension.
      “Nature’s sinister twist of rock, paper, scissors” — I liked the impact this had
      Your piece brought to the forefront how uninformed we, in the US, are about other parts of the world. I felt present with the people affected in your piece.

      • Hi Susan
        Thanks for your response.
        It’s hot here! The heat takes my breath away. And fires are burning.
        I am many kilometres away, and relatively safe, but I know the country, the land, the communities and the people who are currently experiencing this event.

        The skies to the west are smeared with thick grey smoke, fear hugs the horizon. Rain has been forecast (95% likely), I’m going to dance in it when it arrives, feel the softness of water on my skin. And let the relief sink in. 🙂

        Love Dawn

        • Susan W A

          Dear Dawn,

          When we luxuriate in reading others’ gems on TWP and challenge ourselves to put forth compelling works for others to ponder, we get transported from reality for a time. Your piece and your response bring us back, reminding us of the challenges we face outside this bubble.

          So sorry to hear about the devastation that nature and its inhabitants are experiencing in your state … those who must face and flee the flames, losing a lifetime of precious belongings; those whose lungs and eyes sting and ache from the dense smoke, worried about the health consequences; those who are far enough away not to have to leave their homes but are close enough to live with the uneasy feeling that at any moment their lives could be jumbled up, trying to focus but not being able to with the restlessness and disquiet which accompany the anticipation of the unknown; the sorrow knowing that people’s lives may be lost, but certainly disrupted; the agony of knowing that humans, stupid humanity, have squandered this earth and are suffering the consequences.

          Wishing all in your state “the softness of water”.

          Stay safe.

    • Exquisite! 🙂

  • That’s all very nice, except… it’s not winter in the entire English-speaking world. Think Southern Hemisphere.

  • “Don’t give up. The beginning is always the hardest. So lets keep on going till the very end” ~ Natsu Dragneel (Anime character) I find this very inspiring, it reminds me that even if I’m struggling they’re will eventually be an end, and at that end I don’t want to feel like a looser.

    “My Lord….”

    “What is it!?!” Hyun-bin snapped.

    Tsuka inched his head towards the echoing sounds of whip slashes and muffled cries. “How can you ignore that?”

    “What,” Hyun-bi asked darkly. “is there to be ignored?”

    Tsuka inhaled a sharp breath, “Do you really feel nothing?”

    Hyun-bin tightened his grip on the book on his lap. His belly felt queasy. “No, not at all,” He replied. Deliberately he earmarked the page in front of him and slowly closed the book. “Why should it?”

    “They’re your people!” Tsuka grumbled under his breath as he followed his master out of the courtyard.

    “No, they are not,” Hyun-bin reminded Tsuka. “Not since my sister abandoned me.”

    “Lord! Look, they-”

    Hyun-bin snagged Tsuka’s in an iron grip and dragged him out with urgent steps.

    “Are you an idiot!” Hyun-bin shook his friend when they were far from the torture arena.

    ~ This piece is a work in progress <3

  • Dalal

    thank u so much