All-time favorite quotes about writing

Posted July 2, 2020 in
Content Content

John Becker

Revenue and Features Editor at IMPACT

'Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.' -- E.L. Doctorow

It's not about content marketing, but I love the idea that you might not understand the whole journey when you start out, and that's okay.
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John Becker
Connor DeLaney
"Description begins in the writer's imagination but should finish in the reader's." -- Stephen King

The power of great writing, in the content marketing space or not, is in the reader's ability to relate and find their own story within the one you are telling.  John Becker  thoughts?
Connor DeLaney
A great quote I heard recently was by Mark Twain --

"Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words."

This made me think about the drafting and editing process more closely. For a long time, I focused too much on getting the first draft to be as perfect as I could and meticulously re-reading each sentence or paragraph as I wrote. Then I read Ann Handley's book Everbody Writes and the concept of the ugly first draft really hit home. Get everything on paper (even if it's scattered) then go back and clean it up. The flow of ideas comes much more freely that way and you aren't trying to piece things together without having it all on paper. 
Natalie Davis
Hopping on the "Twain Train" with Connor:

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."
--Mark Twain

Thought that was funny but also useful. After reading it I googled "Should I use the word very in writing" and the top answer said:

"Very" is an intensifier without an inherent meaning. Many inexperienced writers use intensifiers like "very" or "really" to try to add power to their writing. This is a mistake. Avoid using very in a sentence because it's a weak word that diminishes your meaning."
John Becker
Very true, Natalie Davis  

Liz Murphy
"The first draft of anything is shit." - Ernest Hemingway :) 
Connor DeLaney
That's what the experts tell me all the time Liz Murphy ;) 

Liz Murphy
Connor DeLaney :D 

Seriously, my first drafts are horrifying. No joke, they're often littered with spots where I'll literally put "SOMETHING SMART GOES HERE" when I can't think of the right words for something, but I also know I need to move on.
Chazz Hirschfeld
"Writing is really quite simple; all you have to do is sit down at your typewriter and open a vein."

This quote has been attributed to Red Smith, Paul Gallico and Ernest Hemingway. And although we're probably not sitting down at typewriters to work, the "opening a vein" phrase was the first one to come to my mind on this topic. Great thread!
Connor DeLaney
I've never heard this quote before but I was going to say the same thing  Chazz Hirschfeld ! That last bit about opening a vein really captures the depth of effective writing. Thank you so much for sharing!
John Becker
I love the implication that writing can be, literally, draining.  Chazz Hirschfeld  
Liz Murphy
Chazz Hirschfeld  I think it's a quote that's been paraphrased quite a bit. Hemingway's version is "All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Hemingway was always a little more... visual, haha.
Liz Murphy
John Becker  My other favorite implication of that quote is that really... it's about sharing what's already inside of you, what drives you, what brings feeling to the surface. Often when we try to create something from nothing, which is true of any act of creation, you can forget that. Really, what you're trying to create is something you already feel within you. You just have to have the guts to say it. :) 

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