Whether you’re faced with the prospect of completing an assignment for your creative writing class, up against a deadline for a short story contest, or are simply writing for fun, it’s easy to get lost in the words. If you feel like you need a map, or even a life preserver, here are 7 inspirational quotes that can help you find your way out of the jungle.

Inspirational Quote 1: “Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Contrary to common sense, it’s often easier to express a thought using a hundred words than merely a few. And while there is a place in fiction for writers who tend to elaborate, good writing almost always means cutting unnecessary words. But that’s a job for your second draft.

Inspirational Quote 2: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” – Elmore Leonard
Don’t throw away everything you learned in school, but understand that good writing sometimes entails breaking the rules. This doesn’t excuse lazy, confusing prose, by the way. To break the rules, you must first master them.

Inspirational Quote 3: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King
It’s an unfortunate truth that many would-be writers are attracted to the medium simply because, well, it beats working for a living, right? Writing is no different than anything else, however; you get out of it what you put in. Talent is common and worth little. Dedication to craft, however, can take you to dizzying heights.

Inspirational Quote 4: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E. L. Doctorow
Even if you’re a meticulous plotter, you really don’t know where your novel will take you. And that’s okay. Sit down and write your required words each day and you’ll get to your destination soon enough, wherever it might lie.

Inspirational Quote 5: “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
The next time you find yourself staring at your computer, “trying to get an idea”, consider these words. Story ideas are plentiful and they are all around you. You just have to keep your eyes open.

Inspirational Quote 6: “We can’t be as good as we’d want to, so the question then becomes, how do we cope with our own badness?” – Nick Hornby
When you begin your journey, you are likely to take inspiration from your favorite writers. There will be a great gap, however, between your output and the quality of the writing you admire. This can be discouraging. Take heart and know that every writer – even the ones you admire most – has been through this difficult stage.

Inspirational Quote 7: “Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating.” – Strunk and White
Remember, it’s called prose for a reason. At the same time, don’t despair if writing ornately is the only way you can move forward. Go to town! But as you read back over your story, get rid of anything that goes beyond description and into decoration.

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