I’ve always believed in the power of the sticky note. Specifically, in the power of a sticky note that contains just the right message to get your words flowing, affixed within sight of your computer screen—on your wall, your bulletin board, the base of your lamp—or inside the cover of your notebook.
Back when I was interviewing bestselling authors at Writer’s Digest, I can’t tell you how many of them mentioned a similar technique. Sometimes, staying inspired amounts to finding the right words that don’t just light your fire, but keep it lit.
The words that bear repeating every day.
We believe so strongly in the power of an inspiring quote that we post one, every week, here at CareerAuthors.com. But too often these quotes get buried by our other headlines, by the how and then what and the when.
This summer, perhaps more than ever, we all need to remember the why.
To find inspiration every day, in a world that’s been turned upside down, that stories matter. And that even in the face of uncertainty and closures and fear and risk, it’s up to us to tell them. Even when our kids’ camp was cancelled, and our partners’ remote offices invade our writing space, and our retreat travel is off the table, and our thoughts don’t seem our own, we must make them so. We must write on.
So I’ve compiled some of our favorite quotes here, in one bookmark-able place. All have previously appeared here on Career Authors, but not in any organized way; many fit this moment in particular eerily well. I’ve covered three categories—ideas (to get you started again), momentum (to keep you going), and craft (to keep you honest).
Which one compels you to scrawl it on your top sticky note? The rest is up to you.
“Originality is partly a matter of having your own influences: Read evolutionary biology textbooks or the Old Testament, find your metaphors where no one’s looking.” —Rebecca Solnit
“The most amazing combinations can result if you shuffle the pack enough.” —Mikhail Bulgakov
“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” —Anais Nin
“The greatest part of an author’s time is spent in reading in order to write. A man will turn over half a library to make a book.” —Samuel Johnson
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” —Albert Einstein
“My imagination functions much better when I don’t have to speak to people.” —Patricia Highsmith
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” —Virginia Woolf
“The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does compete with life.” —Henry James
“That’s my only defense against this world: to build a sentence out of it.” —Jim Harrison
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” —Winston Churchill
“Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether.” —Jeanette Winterson
“Just remember that Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him.” —Stephen King
“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.” —Ernest Hemingway
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” —Ray Bradbury
“When one is willing and eager, the gods join in.” —Aeschylus
“There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.” —Dr. Wayne Dyer
“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.” —Annie Dillard
“You’re not just writing a mystery. You’re writing your view of the world.” —Dana Isaacson
“I’ve learned over the years to free-fall into what’s happening. What happens then is, you start writing something you don’t even really want to write about. Things start to happen under your pencil that you don’t want to happen, or don’t understand. But that’s when the work starts to have a beating heart.” —Andre Dubus
“Good enough is one of those vague, potentially disastrous notions that get into your head and drive you crazy. Good enough. Sheesh.” —Cary Tennis
“Writing a novel is a very hard thing to do because it covers so long a space of time, and if you get discouraged it is not a bad sign, but a good one. If you think you are not doing it well, you are thinking the way real novelists do. I never knew one who did not feel greatly discouraged at times, and some get desperate, and I have always found that to be a good symptom.” —Maxwell Perkins
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” —Saul Bellow
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes … including you.” —Anne Lamott
What words have been inspiring you and your writing lately? Share your own favorite quote on our Facebook hub and keep the conversation going.