6 Quotes That Helped Me Become a Better Writer

#1. “Books are made out of books”

Sinem Günel
Apr 23 · 7 min read

During the past two years, I self-published a book of more than 400 pages and more than 300 blog posts.

Yet, I still struggle to call myself a writer.

Why?

Probably because I feel as if being a writer is something dedicated to older, wiser people. Sometimes, I think being a writer sounds as if one has much life experience, and as I am only 22 years old, I hesitate to name myself one.

But the reality is that I am making more than $5,000 per month through my writing.

Simply writing. No ads, no customer service, no coaching, no dealing with freelance gigs.

Just writing pieces on how to live happier, healthier, more satisfying lives, and inspiring people across the globe to become better versions of themselves.

Every day, thousands of people are seeing and reading my work. I guess that’s not bad for someone who hesitates to call herself a writer.

Now, admittedly, I didn’t read many books on how to write.

I am currently reading some, for example, The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White and On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser.

Yet, until now, all I learned about writing well was through writing a lot, reading blog posts on how to write better, and scrolling through great writers’ posts.

Admittedly, this might not be the most effective approach. But it worked for me.

Here are some of the quotes that most inspired me on my journey to becoming a well-paid writer, even if I struggle to call myself one.

“Books are made out of books.” — Cormac McCarthy

…and blog posts are made out of books and other blog posts.

I came across this quote in a book about how to stay creative and keep going despite difficult times, Keep Going by Austin Kleon. (A fantastic book, by the way.)

When I first started writing, I thought everything I write needed to be exceptional, exclusive, and never been written before.

Little did I know!

After my first three articles, I already felt stuck and didn’t have any more ideas.

Well, here’s the harsh truth: Unless you do research on a specific topic and come up with insights that nobody else knew before — you will write something that already exists.

People will hardly read your work because it’s the only piece written on a topic.

And that’s totally fine.

It’s actually fantastic because it makes our lives as writers easier.

Here’s what really matters: every article you write contains your story, your emotions, and your view of the world.

Nobody can write an article in the way you can.

Each of us has an entirely different background, different emotions, and a different way to communicate with the reader.

How to apply this lesson:

Accept the fact that books are made out of books, and great blog posts are made out of great blog posts.

You don’t have to re-invent anything to be a great (or well-paid) writer.

You don’t have to come up with ideas and lessons nobody ever talked about.

Instead, you can curate the work of great minds and add your own sprinkle, your personal stories, and your point of view.

Just make sure to credit the great minds that inspired you and your writing.

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually, you get better at it.” — Octavia E. Butler

Honestly, I wish I’d come across this quote much earlier.

When I started writing on Medium, I thought my writing needed to be great to be worth something.

Yet, my first articles are horrible. They are just awfully written and formatted.

But it’s okay because I didn’t know how to do it better.

I learned how to write, format, and market my articles correctly through actually writing.

After my first 200 posts, I found out what works and what doesn’t.

As Richard Bach once stated:

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

But what truly mattered were my first, awful articles because without writing them, I couldn’t have become as good as I am right now.

How to apply this lesson:

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, once stated the following:

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”

I believe this also applies to writing.

If your first articles aren’t bad, you probably published too late and spent too much time on details.

You will never write a perfect article anyway.

Everybody’s understanding of great writing is different, and while you might have some raving fans, others will hate your work, no matter how much money you make through your writing.

Just start writing, don’t hesitate to get your work out and keep going until you become better.

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” — Jodi Picoult

This one is probably one of the most critical lessons I teach aspiring writers in my mentoring program.

You can always edit and improve your writing. These are the easy parts.

What truly matters is that you sit down and write, even if you don’t feel like doing so.

I believe too many people get writing wrong.

Yes, writing is a creative process, but hell no, you can’t just write when you feel inspired.

If you just write when you are inspired, you won’t write much at all.

You need to get your butt in the chair and write even when it sucks.

That’s what differentiates truly successful writers from the rest.

Just have a look at some of the greatest writers here on Medium:

Ayodeji Awosika, Niklas Göke, Tim Denning — these guys publish almost every freaking day. And they do so for much longer than the majority of writers here.

They are great at what they are doing because they’ve spent thousands of hours writing.

I bet they didn’t just write when they felt inspired but also wrote on awful days when writing was the last thing they wanted to do.

You really can’t write every now and then and expect it to pay off. It just won’t work.

Here’s one more great quote by Neil Gaiman which sums up what writing is all about:

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

How to apply this lesson:

Avoid blank pages.

Even if you don’t feel like writing, write something.

Write down as many article ideas as you can so that you always have more than enough topics to write about once you sit down.

Don’t wait for inspiration. Just do the work and reap the rewards later.

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” — Orson Scott Card

After my first three pieces on Medium, I felt stuck.

I didn’t know what to write about anymore.

Right now, however, I have idea boards with more article ideas and headlines than I could ever write.

Once you truly want to be inspired, you’ll find ideas everywhere.

There’s so much you can write about. Honestly.

Keep your eyes open, look at the work of other writers, be open to share your story, and accept that you don’t need to come up with innovative ideas to create great writing.

Some of the most successful blog posts are compilations of what already worked in the past.

How to apply this lesson:

Create an idea management system and store all ideas for articles and headlines you ever have properly.

I personally use Trello, a project management tool, but you can also use a simple notebook.

How you store your ideas actually doesn’t matter as long as you can access your system at any time and everywhere you are.

Once you have a proper system and start collecting ideas, you will realize how coming up with ideas on what to write will be no big deal anymore.

“Get through a draft as quickly as possible.” — Joshua Wolf Shenk

You’ve probably heard of “write now, edit later.”

Admittedly, I didn’t understand why that’s such a big deal until recently.

Initially, I wrote, edited, looked for pictures, and did some research all at once.

What I didn’t understand was how much this process harms the actual writing and your productivity.

So yes, write now, edit later is definitely one of the rules you shouldn’t ignore.

Not only your productivity and the speed of your writing will increase, but your work will also be much better because you’ll be able to write without distractions.

When writing, only write.

Do the rest later.

How to apply this lesson:

Editing and writing are totally different tasks. Both of them require different levels of mental energy and creativity.

Instead of editing while finishing your article, just get the first draft done as quickly as possible.

The first draft won’t be that good anyway, so make sure to get through it quickly and edit in a second, third, or even fourth step.

“Find your best time of the day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards, it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess.” — Esther Freud

For me, creating a proper writing routine was a major gamechanger.

Making time for writing while you have other duties such as studies, work, kids, or relationships is not easy — been there, done that. I published my first articles on Medium during my studies and a full-time internship while I was also hosting several workshops per month.

Let’s be honest: If you don’t have a proper writing schedule, it’s easy to skip the writing and do something else.

I found that writing is something I need to do either as the first thing in the morning or late at night. In between, I am too busy with the rest of my business and can’t write without disruptions.

How to apply this lesson:

Do some honest self-reflection and find out when your ideal time for writing is.

Is it in the morning? Evenings? Weekends?

Whatever your schedule looks like, write it down and commit to sticking to it.

Plan your writing sessions, just like any other appointment you have and meet yourself in front of your screen.

Better Marketing

Marketing advice & case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and efficiently.

Sign up for Stories for Better Marketers 🎊

By Better Marketing

Our favorite articles about marketing, creativity, writing, and more.  Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Thanks to Niklas Göke

Sinem Günel

Written by

Entrepreneur, Coach & Dreamer. I write about Personal Growth & Business. 🇦🇹 🇹🇷 Grab your Personal Growth Toolkit: http://bit.ly/pgtk0320 I IG: sinem.guenel

Better Marketing

Marketing advice & case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and efficiently.

Sinem Günel

Written by

Entrepreneur, Coach & Dreamer. I write about Personal Growth & Business. 🇦🇹 🇹🇷 Grab your Personal Growth Toolkit: http://bit.ly/pgtk0320 I IG: sinem.guenel

Better Marketing

Marketing advice & case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and efficiently.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store