My favourite quotes on writing and life

"Write the story that only you can write" quote

I collect quotes. For me, they are a source of magic, power and inspiration.

I firmly believe that the right quote, at the right time, can change the course of your life. (Or, at the very least, help you stay the course with extra focus, determination and fire in your belly.)

Here are some of my all-time life-changing favourites:


If you can express your soul, the rest ceases to matter.
Hugh MacLeod

Write the story that only you can write.
Francisco Arcellana

If a story is in you, it has got to come out.
William Faulkner

Just leave your mind alone; your intuition knows what it wants to write, so get out of the way.
Ray Bradbury

… look in thy heart and write.
Philip Sidney

Rule of thumb: the more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel towards pursuing it.
Stephen Pressfield

The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness.
Elizabeth Gilbert

Write only what you alone can write.
Elie Wiesel

Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write.
John Jakes

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena where I really belonged.
J. K. Rowling

[All writers will smile with recognition at this last one]

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
Oscar Wilde 


You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
Robin Williams

One of my greatest lessons has been to fully understand that what looks like a dark patch in the quest for success is the universe pointing you in a new direction.
Oprah Winfrey

I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.
Roald Dahl

Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
Walt Whitman

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.
Annie Lamott

I am not afraid. I was born to do this.
Joan of Arc

We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow worm.
Winston Churchill

What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.
Bob Dylan

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.
Thomas Edison

When life looks like it’s falling apart, it may just be falling in place.
Beverly Solomon


Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.

What to do with your one life? The same thing you would do if you had two lives, and this were the second.
Robert Brault

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Howard Thurman

You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
Jim Carrey

If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realising that you are the author.
Mark Houlahan

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.
Albert Einstein

Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know so it goes flying anyway.
Mary Kay Ash

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell

You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.
Will Rogers

If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.
Thomas Jefferson

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.

Live life so completely that when death comes to you like a thief in the night, there will be nothing left for him to steal.

BE 100% YOU

Don’t dance around the perimeter of the person you want to be.
Gabrielle Bernstein

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Chinese proverb

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Steve Jobs

Comparison is an act of violence against the self.
Iylana Vanzant

When you’re true to who you are, amazing things happen.
Deborah Norville

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
George Eliot

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
Lao Tzu

I once complained to my father that I didn’t seem to be able to do things the same way other people did. Dad’s advice? “Margo, don’t be a sheep. People hate sheep. They eat them.”
Margo Kaufman


For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.
Winston Churchill

If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a very different reality system.
Wayne Dyer

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious
Brendan Gill

If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
Roald Dahl

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
Marcus Aurelius

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Lao Tzu

Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first or last time.
Betty Smith

Remain calm in every situation because peace equals power.
Joyce Meyer


2 thoughts on “My favourite quotes on writing and life”

  1. A wonderful collection! Here’s one more for you that I’m pretty sure will sound familiar: “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso


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