LinkedIn: Ideas in Your Head Help No One

Ideas in Your Head Help No One: 50 Inspiring Quotes for Writers & Authors

"If you wait to write, you're not a writer; you're a waiter." - Dan Poynter

If there's anything I learned while serving as Executive Director of the Maui Writers Conference for 17 years it's, "Ink it when you think it" and "Books in our head help no one."

Have you ever thought of it that way? If you have insights and stories that would benefit others; it's almost selfish to keep them to yourself.

Or, perhaps you journal as a way of processing life as Anne Frank did, "I shake off everything when I write. My sorrows disappear. My courage is reborn."

Yet, many people start with good intentions and then life intervenes. They get distracted, experience doubts, put aside their journal, book or blog and never get back to it.

That's a path to regrets. 

Aviator Chuck Yeager said, "At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results."

If you want results instead of reasons, pick a favorite quote from the ones below and post it where you'll see it every day to remind yourself you can't earn a good living from your book if it's sitting on your laptop. Write on!

50 Quotes to Inspire You To Finish Your Work and Share it with the World

  1. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

  2. "You might not write well every day. But you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page." - Jodi Piccoult

  3. When Bryce Courtenay (author of The Power of One) was asked the secret to finishing his 600+ page magnum opus, he said two words ... "Bum glue!"

  4. "Tomorrow is another day. But so was yesterday." - Rene Ricard

  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.  "I think writers are too worried it's all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you." - Asha Dornfest 

  7. “If my doctor told me I had only 6 months to live, I’d type a little faster.” – Isaac Asimov

  8. "Don't follow your bliss. Follow your curiosity." - Elizabeth Gilbert

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

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

  11. "If you are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, you're thinking like an amateur. Amateurs don't show up. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, does his work, keeps on truckin', no matter what." - Steven Pressfield

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

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

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

  15. "Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill." Christopher Parker

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

  17. “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

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

  19. "Writing a book is like driving a car at night; you can only see to the end of your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." - E.L. Doctorow

  20. "If you want to be certain, you should never 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

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

  22. “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

  23. “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

  24. “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

  25. “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

  26. “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

  27. “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg 

  28. “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

  29.  "Planning to write is not writing. Writing is writing." - E. L. Doctorow

  30. "I think the worst, most insidious procrastination for me is research. I will look for some 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

  31.  "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." - Pablo Picasso

  32. "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

  33.  "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

  34. "I write because I cannot fly, but words can, and when they land, worlds appear." - Susan Zeder

  35. "If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." - Toni Morrison

  36. “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 

  37. "Do you know the #1 precursor to change? A sense of urgency." John Kotter

  38. "The idea is to write it so people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart." - Maya Angelou

  39. "You know you're on the 'write track' when the words flow out so fast your fingers can't keep up." - Sam Horn

  40. "Writing for me is simply thinking through my fingers." - Isaac Asimov 

  41. "Almost everything will work better if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you." - Anne Lamott

  42. "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." - Pablo Picasso

  43. "Think left, think right, think low, think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try." - Dr. Seuss

  44. "Don't you know yet? It is your light that lights the world." - Rumi

  45. "No joy in the writer, no joy in the reader." - Robert Frost

  46. "If something goes wrong, just yell 'PLOT TWIST," and move on." Pinterest post

  47. "The world is not made up of atoms; it's made up of stories." - Muriel Rukeyser

  48. "Nobody reads a book to get to the middle." - Mickey Spillane

  49. "It take an awful lot of time to NOT write a book." - Douglas Adams

  50. "If you don't like my book, write your own." - Rita Mae Brown

It's time to feel a sense of urgency about getting your work out in the world.

As Paulo Coelho says, "One day you'll wake up and there won't be any time left to do the things you've always wanted to do."

As someone who's helped hundreds of people create quality books that have made a positive difference for all involved, I promise:

"You will never regret getting your work out into the world; you will only regret not doing it ... sooner."

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