Author Ellen Jackson

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Favorite Quotes On Writing

"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."
--Richard Bach

“How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.”
-- G.K. Chesterton

"Take your broken heart, turn it into art."
--Carrie Fisher

“To be an artist means never to avert your eyes."
--Akira Kurosawa

"The object of art is to give life a shape."
--Jean Anouilh (not Shakespeare)

"The worst thing you do write is better than the best thing you don't write."
--April Young Fritz

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."
--Franz Kafka

"First you jump off the cliff, then you sprout wings."
--Libba Bray

"If you call yourself a writer, you can read all you want and people think you are working."
--Katherine Paterson

"You owe it to all of us to get on with what you’re good at."
--W. H. Auden

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."
--Winston Churchill

"Success is that brief interval between a stroke of luck and a stroke."
--Ellen Jackson

"It takes a heap of loafing to write a book."
--Gertrude Stein

"You see more sitting still than chasing after."
--Jonathan Franzen

"In order to write you must have confidence in your own experience, that it is rich enough to write about."
--Natalie Goldberg

"Although sometimes I have felt that I held fire in my hands and spread a page with shining - I have never lost the weight of clumsiness, of ignorance, of aching inability."
--John Steinbeck

"The feeling that the work is magnificent, and the feeling that it is abominable, are both mosquitoes to be repelled, ignored, or killed, but not indulged."
--Annie Dillard

"Like dog food and coffins, children's books are usually picked out by someone other than the ultimate recipient."
--Tracy Mayor

"Revision is when you first get to recognize the distance between what you wanted to write, what you thought you were writing, and what you actually did write. That recognition often makes you want to throw up."
--Carolyn See

"Several delusions weaken the writer’s resolve to throw away work. If he has read his pages too often, those pages will have a necessary quality, the ring of the inevitable, like poetry known by heart; they will perfectly answer their own familiar rhythms."
--Annie Dillard

"If you want to write anything that works, you have to go with the grain of your talent, not against it. If your imagination is inert and sullen in the face of business or politics...but takes fire at the thought of ghosts and vampires and witches and demons, then feed the flames, feed the flames."
--Philip Pullman

"What happens is a reciprocal gift between writer and reader: one heart in hiding reaching out to another."
--Katherine Paterson

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
― G.K. Chesterton


Favorite Non-Writing Quotes

"Love is hard. Love is seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship."

"The whale that spouts is the one that gets harpooned."
--Fred Koch

"Service is the rent we pay for living."
--Marian Wright Edelman

“There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast,' that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”
G.K. Chesterton

"The cure for all things is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea."
--Isaak Dinesen

"In the name of certainty, the greatest crimes have been committed against humanity."
--Carlos Fuentes

"The hardest-learned lesson: that people have only their kind of love to give, not our kind."
--Mignon McLaughlin

"Every accomplishment large and small begins with the same decision: I'll try."
--Ted Key

"You gotta stop wearin' your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be."
--Richard from Texas

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
--Philip K. Dick

Reason has moons, but moons not hers.
Lie mirror'd on the sea,
Confounding her astronomers,
But, Oh! delighting me.
--Ralph Hodgson

"Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world."

"Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck."
--Dalai Lama

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." — Charles Darwin

"To me real courage is metaphysical and has to do with keeping one's passion for life intact, one's curiosity at full stretch, when one is daily hemmed in by death, disease, and lesser mayhems of the heart."
--Diane Ackerman

"People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
--Albert Einstein, 1955

"It is the very nature of a democracy that it not only does, but should, fight with one hand tied behind its back. It is also in the nature of democracy that it prevails against its enemies precisely because it does."
--Michael Ignatieff

"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner."
--Benjamin Franklin

"You become what you think about most."

"If there’s no enemy within, the enemy without can do you no harm."
--African Proverb

"Life is pain and anyone who tells you something different is selling something."
--William Goldman

"Never sacrifice the least bit of comfort for a few cupid feathers."
--Dawn Powell

"The more you know, the less you need."
--Eustace Conway

"What? Atoms for lunch again?"

"...this makes dying sound meaningful and sweet—and it is true that, if you are lucky, there is a seam of sweetness and meaning to be found within it, a vein of silver in a dark cave a thousand feet underground."
--Kathryn Schulz

"The soul is contagious; one man catches another’s like the plague."
--Erica Jong

"There are no difficult people, only people with difficulties."
--Reid Melton

“If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.”
--W.H. Auden

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
--Philo of Alexandria

"If there be a skeptical star I was born under it, yet I have lived all my days in complete astonishment."
--W. MacNeile Dixon

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in."
--Leonard Cohen

"When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries of life disappear."
--Mark Twain

"Kick at the rock, Sam Johnson, break your bones:
But cloudy, cloudy is the stuff of stones."
–Richard Wilbur

"Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real."
--Niels Bohr

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

“You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
-- Anne Lamott

"There are two ways to live: You can live as if nothing is a miracle, or, you can live as if everything is a miracle."
--Albert Einstein

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung, and possibly broken.”
--C.S. Lewis

"Laughter is carbonated holiness."
--Anne Lamott

"What will survive of us is love."
--Philip Larkin

"Nothing is as it seems, nor is it otherwise."
--Alan Watts

"All paths lead nowhere. Choose one with heart."

"The secret of life is avoiding other people's projections."

"We forfeit 3/​4ths of ourselves to be like other people."

"Hate is a lack of imagination."
--Graham Greene

“Your wound is the place where the light enters you.”

“We are only here for a minute, we are here for a little window, and to use that time to catch and share shards of light and laughter and grace seems to me the great story.”
–Brian Doyle