“Writing Is Hard” and Other (Soon-To-Be) Famous Quotes About Writing

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

Question: What’s easier than writing a book?

Answer: EVERY GODDAMN THING I HAVE EVER TRIED TO DO.

But enough about the struggle and the angst!  It’s February– all of us are tired and half three-fourths of us are looking for stronger meds to combat the winter blahs.  Let’s throw open the shades and get some light in here.  Oh, wait, there’s no light? Just gray skies spitting out snain (snowy-rain for those of you who don’t have your Outlaw Mama glossary handy)? Alrighty then, let’s do easy stuff today.  Forget writing a novel– that’s too hard, takes way too much effort and breaks my spirit too quickly.

Snoopy, guys, I put a Goddamned Snoopy picture for you. See? I am all about cheer and happiness.

Snoopy, guys, I put a Goddamned Snoopy picture up for you. See? I am all about cheer and happiness.

 Let’s write quotes about writing.  That’s what I do whenever I get sick of procrastinating working on my novel or obsessing about how much more successful (than I) the women in my writing group are (both of them skipped grades in school because they were so smart so please feel my pain.

Anyway, writers are always saying all kinds of deep shit about writing, so just in case I never finish the book, I’ll have some quotable wisdom about writing.

Here are my gems:

  1. “Writing. It’s hard.” — Outlaw Mama every time I sit down to write
  2. “Writing. It’s what’s for dinner.” — Outlaw Mama, when I am too busy blogging to feed my children
  3. “I want my book to the reason that you bought a book light.”  — Outlaw Mama before Kindles were invented
  4. “”Writing makes me want to drive those things you stick at the end of corn on the cob into my eye sockets.” — Outlaw Mama at a picnic
  5. “Write what you know, right? That’s why my book is about Costco, therapy, and shame.” — Outlaw Mama’s query letter
  6. “I write because I must (and because the TJ Maxx is closed and I had nothing better to do).” — Outlaw Mama at midnight
  7. “A day without writing is probably a day that I enjoyed a relatively healthy sense of self-esteem.” — Outlaw Mama unplugged
  8. “If it’s written on the heart, it should be written on the page, but put the pages away when you are done or your children will try to eat them and stick them in their dirty diapers.” — Outlaw Mama last week
  9. “Writing makes me a better person except on the days it makes me feel grumpy, “less than” and filled with a murderous rage.” — Outlaw Mama yesterday
  10. “The scariest moment in writing is not facing the blank page– it’s when you sit down at your computer and an intruder sticks a machete in your face and asks for all of your money.”  Outlaw Mama trying to convince herself that writing isn’t scary at all

See? Isn’t this more fun than plot and character and editing words that mean so much to you, but readers don’t give a damn about?

I’m feeling so cheered up I might just open my novel up and take it for a spin.

What’s your favorite writing quote?

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46 thoughts on ““Writing Is Hard” and Other (Soon-To-Be) Famous Quotes About Writing

  1. LOL. You crack me up. Writing IS hard. I don’t know. I’ve been taking your advice–dabbling, playing. It’s fun. It’s a lot harder to write when there are things riding on it. I can’t wait to read your book. If you need any help editing, etc. along the way or need readers once you’ve got a draft done, I volunteer 🙂

    • Girl, you better know I am filing this away under “People Who SWORE they’d help” so I’ll be ringing you up! Probably not anytime soon because PROCRASTINATION. Thanks for the love and support. It means the world!

  2. Yep, you pretty much nailed it all. I also tend to say “I write because it’s in my blood. Just like alcohol so sod off and pour Mommy another cocktail.” But, that’s just me.

  3. I started to quote Anne Lamott, but that’s difficult – all her advice is good and sensible and sort of funny and way too damn logical for me most days. I actually just hit the point where I looked at every draft of my work and thought, “I hate this.” So your blog post came at the right moment. Solidarity, right? (I’m going to go eat fried things.)

    • Cover them with chocolate and I’ll meet you in the cafeteria.

      And btw, I have no doubt your writing is amazing. I’d be happy to read any of your drafts if you need some eyes. Especially if it’s about food. Because YUM.

      On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM, Outlaw Mama

  4. “snain” love that word and yes we had it. Nasty stuff! And I hate all those smart people who skipped grades (just kidding) Thank you for the laugh. I needed this today as I sit at a relatively blank page that is supposed to turn into a YW post. I AN NOT wait to read a whole book from YOU.

    “Don’t write it right, just write it. Then make it right later.” “Write in any way that works for you. Write in a tuxedo or in the shower with a raincoat or in a cave deep in the woods.”
    JOHN GARDNER

    • Yes! You know the snain pain! I am staring at it right now. I can’t wait to read your YW post. and I love your quote. Thanks for sharing the love and laughs today!

      On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:04 AM, Outlaw Mama

  5. First of all, snain is my new favorite word because seriously, WTF?!?! is going on out there? So disgusting.

    And if it makes you feel any better, they skipped me a grade because I was smart but also because I showed a complete inability to fit in socially in my current grade. Silly them. I showed a complete inability to fit in socially in my new grade, too. I’m just a loser 🙂

    Seriously though, writing is so effing hard. I’m at the point right now where I HATE my book and I can’t force myself to sit down and work on it at all. Nor can I make myself work on my Mississippi book, probably because I’m afraid I’d hate that one too, if I ever actually did any work on it. Grrrrr… so painful.

    • Well, this is good to hear, not because I wish you suffering but because I never project any misery or torture on to you. You! You are young and sparkly and a real deal writer and you skipped a grade because you are brilliant…. Who cares about being social when you can understand string theory at age 8. (That was hypothetical.)

      And we shouldn’t judge our own writing. I think that should be a rule or a law or a canon of ethics. And as someone who has read your book, step away from the hate and send that out because guess what? You wrote a great book. And I love and hate you for that. Mostly love and envy but I am also, by nature, a hater, so don’t take it personally.

      As for the stupid snain– MAKE IT STOP.

      On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:17 AM, Outlaw Mama

    • Right? I sit down and think, really, what’s the big deal? I am warm, I have potable water and I have some free time. It’s not like there’s a psycho killer on the loose in my house…unless you count me. Which you shouldn’t. I’m not a killer. I’m just psycho.

      On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:18 AM, Outlaw Mama

  6. It’s snaining here right now. Actually it’s mostly rain but I hate rain so much I’m pretending there is some snow in there. I love reading all your comments and seeing how many people are trying to juggle life plus a handful of creative projects at once.

    By the way #7, 9 and 10 were my absolute favorites!

  7. fabulous. i love em all! someone once said, something like this before i mangled it into something not as good but – writing is easy, you just sit by your computer, slice open a vein and your life pour out. no biggie.

  8. Love it. Was it on the oscar’s the other night? Nora Ephron – “The hardest thing about writing is writing.” I would change that for myself to “the hardest thing about working is not screwing around on the internet all day.” And you do not help with that endeavor, Outlaw Mama.

    • Mine is the hardest thing about working is OH LOOK, there’s a Sundance Catalog ad; let’s click and buy southwesterny shit I’ll never wear.

      On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 11:26 AM, Outlaw Mama

  9. “Writing makes me a better person except on the days it makes me feel grumpy, “less than” and filled with a murderous rage.”

    I’m nominating this one for the next edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Totally awesome.

  10. “Writing: She’s a fickle bitch.” (OF COURSE, I had to use a bad word in mine. Learned that at that fancy Catholic all-girls school we both went to! I adore the fact that you used “Goddamned” and “Snoopy” together.)

  11. #2 made me laugh out loud. #3 is awesome. I want to come up with a quote about how writing is like a deep-fried Mars bar, because of the fried chocolate comments, but then I remembered that a deep-fried Mars bar IS as good as I thought it would be.Ah well. May I just say that I am in awe of people who write books. I blog because I want to write but have zero cool ideas for a book. I hit my novel-writing peak back in homeschooling, and now have crippling insecurity about my ability to form anything resembling a plot.

  12. My favorite writing quote is by Thomas Mann: “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

    My favorite quote over all is by Samuel Beckett: “Ever try? Ever fail? Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

  13. Oh this one definitely gets printed and tacked to the story board in my office where the photos of actors representing my characters can look over it at and understand why their words and actions aren’t getting on the page! I’m really tired of explaining it to them all the time!

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