Resources and tips for the self-published author.

Famous Author Quotes Decoded for the Modern Writer

by Auburn Seal •  November 17, 2016  •   Follow

Published in Publishing Tips  •  No comments

We all need inspiration and famous authors and poets have given us tons of quotes to fuel our creativity. I selected a few of my favorites and decoded them for the modern writer.


“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
—Philip Roth

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
—Stephen King

Apparently, the road to hell is paved with adverb-heavy works-in-progress.

Takeaway: Kill the adverb, finish the book.

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”

—Virginia Woolf

After all, it’s nothing but a little bit of baring your soul. What’s so scary about that?

Takeaway: Tell your secrets.

“I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.”

—Tom Clancy, WD

Do you stop because you don’t think you can do it well. That’s your problem. You think too much.

Takeaway: Just write it.

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
—Harper Lee, WD

Criticism is part of the gig. 

Takeaway: Develop callouses.

“Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels.”

—May Sarton

It’s really not rocket science. Feel it, write it.

Takeaway: Don’t question your story. It’s been in you for awhile.

“I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.”
—Patrick Dennis

The ideas should be chaos in the beginning. It is the writing of it that creates order and breathes sense into the wild parts of us.

Takeaway: Writing calms the storm.

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”
—Henry David Thoreau

When your thoughts are swirling and your passion is high, wield that emotion like a pen and write with it.

Takeaway: Write while it still hurts.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

–Maya Angelou

The only way to kill the pain is to bleed on the paper. 

Takeaway: Open the wound and get to work.


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About Auburn Seal

Auburn Seal is the author of eight books including historical fiction, cozy mystery, paranormal romance, and science fiction. She doesn't believe in dipping her toe in the water of experimentation, but rather jumping in and making the biggest splash possible. Her first book, Roanoke Vanishing, was published in 2013. Discover more about Auburn and her various projects at