21 Pieces of Inspiration for Writers on the Edge

For those days when writing seems impossible

Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

Here’s a first aid kit of inspiration for those days when writing just feels too hard and too much like a waste of your time.

When you feel like it’s time for your plan B, take two and try again in the morning.


“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. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” — Octavia Butler

“The best way out is always through.” — Robert Frost

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” — Sylvia Plath

“The first draft of anything is shit.” — Ernest Hemingway

“To survive, you must tell stories.” — Umberto Eco

“A word after a word after a word is power.” — Margaret Atwood

“You can make anything by writing.” — C.S. Lewis

“Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epoch, who never knew each other. Books break the shackles of time — proof that humans can work magic.” — Carl Sagan

“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.” — Edgar Rice Burroughs

“A wounded deer leaps the highest.” — Emily Dickenson

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the o nly way you can do anything really good.” — William Faulkner

“A man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard work, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself.” — Ray Bradbury

“When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.” — Margaret Laurence

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prisim light, white hot, on paper.” — Ray Bradbury

“Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood — you will either write or you will not — and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.” — Jim Tully

“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or ten pages no matter what, and that I can tear them up in the morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing — writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.” — Lawrence Block

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” — Ernest Hemingway

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” — Allen Ginsberg

“If you want to be a writer, you have to write everyday . . . you don’t go to a well once but daily.” — Walter Mosley

“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.” — Neil Gaiman

“Just write everyday of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens.” — Ray Bradbury

Here’s my secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the original Ninja Writer.