Quotes from Successful Authors by Donald Murray,
Writing for Your Readers


The writer is looking for informing material.
–Maxine Kumin


I blame myself for not often enough seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. Somewhere in his journals Dostoyevsky remarks that a writer can begin anywhere, at the most commonplace thing, scratch around in it long enough, and dig away long enough and lo! soon he will hit upon the marvelous.
–Saul Bellow


I began to write because I was too shy to talk, and too lonely not to send messages.
–Heather McHugh


The greatest artist is the simplifier.
–Henri Frederic Amiel


It becomes a great deal of experience to become natural.
–Willa Cather
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paraphr no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
–William Strunk


I don’t write a word of the article until I have the lead. It jut sets the whole tone—the whole point of view. I know exactly where I’m going as soon as I have the lead.
–Nora Ephron
There is no such thing as writer’s block. My father drove a truck for 40 years. And never once did he wake up in the morning and say: “I have truckdriver’s block today. I am not going to work.”
–Roger Simon


You have to remember that nobody ever wants a new writer. You have to create your own demand.
–Doris Lessing
To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
–e. e. cummings
Writing a book is like rearing children—willpower has very little to do with it. If you have a little baby crying in the middle of the night, and if you depend only on willpower to get you out of bed to feed the baby, that baby will starve. You do it out of love.
–Annie Dillard
Writing simply means no dependent clauses, no dangling things, no flashbacks, and keeping the subject near the predicate. We throw in as many fresh words as we can get away with. Simple, short sentences don’t always work. You have to do tricks with pacing, alternate long sentences with short, to keep it vital and alive. Virtually every page is a cliffhanger—you’ve got to force them to turn it.
–Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
Too often I wait for the sentence to finish taking shape in my mind before setting it down. It is better to seize it by the end that first offers itself, head and foot, though not knowing the rest, then pull: the rest will follow along.
–Andre Glide