Do you think writing is painful? You are not alone!

I love quotes and if they are about writing, even better. Some of my favs:

“Beware of advice—even this.”—Carl Sandburg

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”—Ernest Hemingway

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.”—Peter De Vries

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

Sometimes, I’m incapable of writing a story the way I imagined it. I end up feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and even angry. On those days, I want to be reassured that I’m not completely crazy for choosing to write. And it helps knowing that others have also found writing to be utterly painful.

The first time I discovered other writers suffer from similar frustrations (even great writers!), was when I read the prologue of Strange Pilgrims, a collection of twelve short stories by Gabriel García Marquez. I was inspired by the fact that he had spent eighteen years writing these stories, and he called them pilgrims because they travelled back and forth between his desk and his trash can (I’m paraphrasing). That prologue is worth reading on its own as a source of inspiration and as a lesson to writers. It certainly gave me hope for my own writing. For any writer who knows the struggle and the pain of writing, here are my top 10 quotes on the subject:

“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.”—George Orwell

“The first draft of anything is shit.”—Ernest Hemingway

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”—Robert Benchley 

“Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you—as if you haven’t been told a million times already—that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching.”—Harlan Ellison

“The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.”—William Faulkner

“To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over…”—John Hersey

“Half my life is an act of revision.”—John Irving

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.”—Joseph Heller

“The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.”—Isaac Bashevis Singer

As a bonus, if you thought one day the suffering will end:
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”—Ernest Hemingway

Keep writing!

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