This post, by Philip, originally appeared on YouOffendMeYouOffendMyFamily.
I met a couple of kids over the weekend who hope to grow up and become writers. That’s always inspiring to hear but I also wonder if they really understand the struggles and hardships that await. So for them and anyone else who writes or wants to write or loves writing, here are a few of the quotes I’ve collected over the years on this “noblest of professions.”
…I had decided that the only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.
– Russell Baker
When you start writing you’re 98% pure writer and 2% critic. After you’ve written for a length of time, you’ve learned a great deal about your craft, and you’ve become 2% pure writer and 98% critic. It’s like writing uphill.
– David Westheimer
As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly.
– Paul Rudnick
Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.
– Robert Bresson
Writing is easy. All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.
– Gene Fowler
Most playwrights go wrong on the fifth word. When you start a play and you type ‘Act one, scene one,’ your writing is every bit as good as Arthur Miller or Eugene O’Neill or anyone. It’s that fifth word where amateurs start to go wrong.
– Meredith Willson
There was a time when making ‘Barney Miller’ a hit on the air was my life. I cared about nothing else. That was all I was concerned with. And I told my wife and I told my children if it costs me my relationship with my family, I’m committing five years of my life to making the best television show I can possibly make. Whatever it costs, under any circumstance. And I hocked my house, and I gave up my salary and I did everything to give the show a chance to start going. And that’s what you have to do.
– Danny Arnold
Hollywood is the only town where you cannot fail. You can only quit trying.
– Dennis Foley
Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don’t let this get around.
– Herman Mankiewicz telling fellow journalist Ben Hecht about Hollywood
My chief memory of movieland is of asking in the producer’s office why I must change the script, eviscerate it, cripple and hamstring it? Why must I strip the hero of his few semi-intelligent remarks and why must I tack on a corny ending that makes the stomach shudder? Half of all the movie writers argue in this fashion. The other half writhe in silence, and the psychoanalysts couch or the liquor bottle claim them both.
– Ben Hecht
Writers are lucky. Whatever the mood, no matter the longing, the writer can use his words to connect himself to any world he wishes to visit.
– Alan Zweibel from “Bunny Bunny: Gilda Radner: A Sort of Love Story.”
Whenever you write, whatever you write, never make the mistake of assuming the audience is any less intelligent than you are.
– Rod Serling