Sam’s Top 100 Writing Quotes

Anybody who knows me knows how much I love quotes. 

 Why? Evocative Hook, Line, and Thinkers can remind us of what matters and motivate us to take action on what might add value. 

As John Maxwell says, “Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.”

 In the 25 years I’ve had the privilege of helping people get their books out of their heads and into the world, I have collected hundreds of thought-provoking insights on creativity. 

 Hope you enjoy these favorites and are inspired to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and share your stories and lessons learned with the world. 

  1. “If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.”
    – Dan Poynter
  2. “Ideas are the beginning points of all fortune.”
    – Napoleon Hill
  3. “Every creative project needs a spine. What’s yours?”
    – Twyla Tharp
  4.  “Some of us are not living our dreams because we’re living our fears.”
    – Les Brown
  5. “Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”
    – Elizabeth Gilbert
  6. “When asked the secret to finishing his 500-page masterpiece The Power of One, author Bryce Courtenay growled, “Bum glue!”
  7.  “Never be limited by other people’s limited imagination.”
    – astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison
  8.  “At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results.”
    – aviation pioneer Chuck Yeager  
  9. “If my doctor told me I had only 6 months to live, I’d type a little faster.”
    – Isaac Asimov
  10. “Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”
    – Sue Grafton
  1. “If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, we’re thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don’t show up. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin’, no matter what.” 
    – Steven Pressfield

  2. “You can’t give up! If you give up, you’re like everybody else.”
    – Chris Evert

  3. “I made a startling discovery. Time spent writing = output of work. Amazing.”
    – Ann Patchett

  4. “Ever tried and failed? No matter. Try again and fail better.”
    – Samuel Beckett

  5. “Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
    – Christopher Parker

  6.  “It’s never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise.”
    – Nancy Thayer

  7. “If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.”
    – Richard Rhodes

  8. “The way to resume is to resume. It is the only way. To resume.”
    – Gertrude Stein

  9. “Best advice on writing I’ve ever received. Finish.”
    – Peter Mayle

  10. “If you want to be certain, you should never get married, change jobs or attempt anything creative. In fact, you might as well just stay home. Because I don’t know anybody who is certain. That need to be certain is just procrastination.”
    – Mark Burnett

  1. “When I am writing, I am doing the thing I was meant to do.”
    – Anne Sexton

  2. “You can sit there, tense and worried, freezing the creative energies, or you can start writing something. It doesn’t matter what. In five or ten minutes, the imagination will heat, the tightness will fade, and a certain spirit and rhythm will take over.”
    – Leonard Bernstein

  3. “I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged. I had pieces that were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.”
    – Erica Jong

  4. “Once you’ve done the mental work, there comes a point you have to throw yourself into action and put your heart on the line.”
    – Lakers basketball coach Phil Jackson

  5. “The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.”
    – Raymond Chandler

  6. “When you speak, your words echo across the room. When you write, your words echo across the ages.”
    Chicken Soup for the Writers Soul author Bud Gardner

  7. “The purpose of life is to find your gifts, the meaning is to give them away.”
    – Pablo Picasso

  8. “I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind has to know it has to get down to work.”
    – Pearl S. Buck

  9. “Planning to write is not writing. Writing is writing.”
    – E. L. Doctorow

  10. “I think the worst, most insidious procrastination for me is research. I will be looking for some bit of fact to include in the novel, and before I know, I’ve wasted an entire morning delving into that subject matter without a word written.”
    – James Rollins

  1. “There’s a trick I’m going to share with you. I learned it almost twenty years ago and I’ve never forgotten it… so pay attention. Don’t begin at the beginning.”
    – Lawrence Block

  2. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work and write; you don’t give up.”
    – Anne Lamott

  3. “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
    – Toni Morrison

  4. “If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.”
    – Rollo May

  5. “Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.”
    – Madeleine L’Engle

  6. “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9 a.m. every morning.”
    – Peter DeVries

  7. “I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.”
    – Steve Martin

  8. “You can’t edit a blank page.”
    – Jodi Piccoult

  9. “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
    – Colin Powell

  10. “Have I stretched the envelop as much as I want? No. That’s why I’m still creatively hungry.”
    – Stephen Spielberg

  1. “Do you know the #1 precursor to change? A sense of urgency.”
    – John Kotter

  2. “Be brave enough to be your true self. “
    – Queen Latifah

  3. “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
    – Malala Yousafzai

  4. “To do what you love and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun.”
    – Katherine Graham

  5. “Creativity is based on the belief that there’s no particular virtue in doing things they way they’ve always been done.”
    – Rudolph Flesch

  6. “The life you’ve led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.”
    – Anna Quindlen

  7. “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
    – Robin Williams

  8. “Your first obligation as a writer is to tell the truth.” – Lena Waithe

  9. “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”
    – Albert Einstein

  10. “I write because I cannot fly, but words can, and when they land, worlds appear.”
    – Susan Zeder

  1. 51. “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.”
    – Elvis Pressley

  2. “I can’t write a book commensurate with Shakespeare, I can write a book by me.”
    – Sir Walter Raleigh

  3. “Remember when you wanted what you currently have.”
    – Jedediah Jenkins

  4. “We spend so much time being afraid of failure, being afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most.”
    – Trevor Noah

  5. “Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage… and you need to jump into it.”
    – Julia Cameron

  6. “Never say anything to yourself you don’t want to come true.”
    – Brian Tracy

  7. “I am neither clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious.”
    – Albert Einstein

  8. “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
    – Carl Sagan

  9. “Writing isn’t supposed to be a grind, coffee is.”
    – Sam Horn

  10. “Write what should not be forgotten.”
    – Isabel Allende

Music of the words quote
  1. “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t; you’ll find an excuse.”
    – Jim Rohn

  2. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
    – Anaïs Nin

  3. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
    – Benjamin Franklin

  4. “No joy in the writer, no joy in the reader.”
    – Robert Frost

  5. “I have walked myself into my best thoughts.”
    – Soren Kierkegaard

  6. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
    – Anne Frank 

  7. “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”
    – Confucius  

  8. “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”
    – Elmore Leonard  

  9. “Make your life your lab.”
    – Sam Horn

  10. “Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.”
    – Madeleine L’Engle  

Paper Airplanes Symbolizing Leadership
  1. “You are the sky, everything else is the weather.”
    – Pema Chodron   

  2. “You’ve got to be a good date for the reader.”
    – Kurt Vonnegut 

  3. “Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.”

    – Jose Ortega y Gasset
  4. “A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.”

    – Frank Capra
  5. “One day you will tell the story of how you overcame what you went through, and it will become someone else’s survival guide.”
    – Brene Brown 

  6. “If you are troubled, you are too high up in your head.”
    – Carl Jung

  7. “The world is made up of stories, not atoms.”
    – Muriel Rukeyser  

  8. “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”
    – Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi 

  9. “Your opening has to be good – or the rest of the story won’t have a chance because nobody’ll stick around to read it.” 
    – Lawrence Block 

  10. “Hold the vision, not the circumstances.”
    – Mary Morrissey  


Sam Horn's writers quote
  1. “If there is magic in story-telling, and I’m convinced there is; the formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader.”
    – John Steinbeck  

  2. “Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind.”
    – F. Scott Fitzgerald  

  3. “When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”
    – George Washington Carver

  4. “Let the story cool off, and then, instead of rewriting it, you relive it.”
    – Ray Bradbury  

  5. “I will not reason and compare, my business is to create.”
    – William Blake 

  6. “It’s amazing how long it takes to complete something we’re not working on.”
    – R.D. Clyde  

  7. “Find what gave you emotion; what the action was that gave you excitement. Then write it down making it clear so the reader can see it too.”  
    – Ernest Hemingway

  8. “Prescription for a good life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
    – Mary Oliver

  9. “I imagine the YES is the only living thing.”
    – E.E. Cummings

  10. “If you’re searching for that one person who will change your life, look in the mirror.”
    – Roman Price

  1. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
    – Nora Ephron

  2. “I didn’t come this far to only come this far.”
    – Sign in gym

  3. “A year from now, you will wish you had started today.”
    – Karen Lamb

  4. “They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
    – Andy Warhol

  5. “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.”
    – Tina Fey

  6. “I am not the product of my circumstances. I’m the product of my decisions.”
    – Stephen R. Covey

  7. “I’m not telling you it will be easy. I’m telling you it will be worth it.”
    – Art Williams

  8. “It is our choices that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
    – J. K. Rowling

  9. “People can’t jump on your bandwagon if it’s parked in the garage.”
    – Sam Horn

  10. “Let us then, be up and doing.”
    – Longfellow

So, which of these is your favorite? Why?

You might want to print this out and post it where you can see it every day. That way, your writing project won’t drift out-of-sight, out-of-mind because you’re keeping it in-sight, in-mind and top-of-mind.

Hope these quotes get you up and writing.

Because I have never met ANY authors who were sorry they wrote their book. I have only met authors who were sorry they didn’t write it sooner. Write on!

  • Want to Share Your Story/Suggestion With Sam Horn?

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