You have an idea for that novel or poem or short story or personal experience article, but you can’t seem to get it down on paper. Or you look at what you’ve written and weep because it’s so bad.
So do you give up?
Here is some inspirational advice from experienced writers.
On Writer’s Block
“If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.” Louis L’ Amour
“Don’t think and then write it down. Think on paper.” Harry Kemelman
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London
“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” Terry Pratchett
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work.” Stephen King
“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.” Pearl S. Buck
“Perhaps it would be better not to be a writer, but if you must, then write. If all feels hopeless, if that famous ‘inspiration’ will not come, write. If you are a genius, you’ll make your own rules, but if not – and the odds are against it – go to your desk no matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper – write.” J.B. Priestly
“The way to write is to throw your body at the mark when your arrows are spent.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If the artist works only when he feels like it, he’s not apt to build up much of a body of work. Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it, because the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work, and to go where it tells him to go.” Madeline L’Engle
“When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens. But before he can listen, paradoxically, he must work.” Madeleine L’Engle
“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
“I think new writers are too worried that it has all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you.” Asha Dornfest
“To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.” Anne Rice
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” Margaret Atwood
On Writing the First Draft
“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” Les Brown
“If you don’t allow yourself the possibility of writing something very, very bad, it would be hard to write something very good.” Steven Galloway
“It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.” Will Shetterly
“First drafts are for learning what your novel or story is about.” Bernard Malamud
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” Shannon Hale
“Every first draft is perfect, because all a first draft has to do is exist.” Jane Smiley
So start writing.