The best famous writers’s inspirational quotes about life, writing, books, and reading.
I walked into my favorite bookstore last week, and I was immediately hit by a wave of relief. I stood at the front of the store, looking at a table covered in books, feeling a weight lifting from me.
There was something so luxurious and indulgent about having 15 whole minutes to take in the store, to wander from shelf to shelf and see all the beauty and knowledge bound up and displayed. I had only a few minutes to pick up a gift before the parade of to-dos set in for the day, but as soon as I got that first breath of bookstore air, I stopped checking my phone and my clock.
Isn’t there just something magical about walking in a bookstore? There’s something holy and sacred about it to me, and sometimes it catches my breath how good it feels. It feels like the whole world laid out before me, thousands of interesting voices and people and places and wisdom and adventures to pluck into an afternoon.
It reminds me why I believe in books, and it reminds me why it’s important that writers keep writing and keep sharing their work.
I also know how easy it is to lose sight of that.
Trust me: when you’re working on the nitty gritty of making a physical book, it’s easy to lose touch of that end payoff, that holding-the-book-and-feeling-the-magic moment that we all work so hard for.
But over many years of working on books and flowing through cycles of inspiration and overwhelm, I’ve found that there are other ways to keep the magic alive, even when you can’t get yourself some time to soak up a bookstore.
And by far, one of my favorite ways to get book inspiration is by scrolling through Pinterest (follow me there!) and finding inspiring quotes from writers and cute illustrations about the book lover’s life. (For instance, how cute is this book art?!)
The quotes, especially, give me such a jolt of remembering why I do what I do. And since I love saving my favorite inspirational quotes and turning them into book art, I created this printable art print with the Jorge Luis Borges quote, “I have always imagined paradise to be a kind of library.” You can download it for free here!
And in case you also need a little more motivation and inspiration today, here are my 10 best inspirational quotes about writing, as well as my favorite quotes about books and reading. I hope they remind you how good being a book lover can be!
10 Quotes That Remind Us How Much We Love Books
“I have always imagined paradise to be a kind of library.”
– Jorge Luise Borges
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.”
– Charles William Eliot
“Books don’t change people; paragraphs do, sometimes even sentences.”
– John Piper
“What you read when you don’t have to determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
– Oscar Wilde
“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quite or excite you. Books to help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
– Anne Lamott
“To acquire a habit of reading is to create for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”
– W. Somerset Maugham
“Books wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
– Mason Cooley
“So often a visit to a bookshop has cheered me and reminded me that there are good things in the world.”
– Vincent Van Gogh
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something—a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things—which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”
– Alan Bennett
A Book I’m Excited About This Week
On theme with our conversation about inspiring quotes and art prints for book lovers is this beautiful little book, which released this week from Chronicle:
It’s a visual ode to books and book lovers, and it would make a darn great holiday gift for any reader or writer you know. I’m holding myself back from buying 30 of them, but 10 feels sane, right? Right?
What I’m Reading This Week:
On Being Discovered (Seth Godin): A great little reminder that, “Instead of hoping that people will find you, the alternative is to become the sort of person these people will go looking for.” It’s true–when a writer or blogger is at a certain level, I scout them, rather than waiting for them to query me.
These 70+ Publications Pay $1 a Word (And They’re Looking for Writers) (Mridu Khullar Relph for The International Freelancer): “Ever been told there are no well-paying markets left for freelancers and that it’s exceptionally difficult to make a living as a freelance writer? … I have been telling my readers and students for years that they do not have to choose. It’s not love or money, it’s love AND money.” Amen.
Productivity Advice for the Weird (Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich): This is a long one, but I’ll tell you the most important insight: You cannot get serious about productivity until you get serious about how much you sleep, what you eat, and what you surround yourself with. People want to hear about quick, easy fixes and new productivity apps, but as Sethi puts it, “Everybody ignores these [fundamentals] because they’re not sexy. But if you don’t get these right, nothing else matters.”
Stop Obsessing Over Criticism: 3 Steps to Emotional Resilience for Writers (Ivy Shelden on The Write Life): “Writing and freelancing are careers that require an enormous amount of resilience. But what I’ve found, through my interactions with writers and other creatives, is that we are some of the least emotionally resilient people out there. Many of us are sensitive and emotional—it comes with the gift of creativity.” You can also find pep talks from me on overcoming emotional obstacles as a writer here.
6 Common Sense Steps to Secure a WordPress Website (Nate Hoffelder on JaneFriedman.com): Nate writes The Digital Reader, which is one of my daily morning reads, and here he shares easy but extremely important things you can do to prevent your website from being hacked. I took notes, and I’m getting started on these things, STAT.
What We’re Eating This Week
It’s back to DC for us and back to NYC for a chunk of the week for me, so here’s what we’re (sort of) cooking:
Monday: I had the most blah Monday of all Mondays (I blame the gray skies + drizzle we had all day!) so we scrapped our plans to grill drumsticks outside with a beet salad and instead converted those ingredients into some uber comforting brown-butter beet pasta (a lazy gal version of this Melissa Clark recipe) and baked BBQ drumsticks. And we ate it all on the couch, while watching TV. Because sometimes living your best life is just living your laziest life.
Tuesday: I’m off to NYC, so rice and beans and Brazilian-style sautéed beef at my Yaya’s it is.
Wednesday: A good friend is moving into Chelsea, so I may swing by her place with some takeout! Backup plan is more Brazilian food at Yaya’s. There are no limits to how much rice and beans I can eat–I’ve checked.
Thursday: I may finally use the ace card I’ve kept up my sleeve—a freezer bag of Chicken Tikka Masala, which is prepped and ready to be dropped in the slow cooker, thanks to the freezer cooking party we had in the spring. Have I mentioned that freezer cooking is sanity incarnate? Have I mentioned that I am so insanely excited about my authors’ freezer cooking book, From Freezer to Table? Have I mentioned that’s it’s releasing September 9th but you can preorder it now? I’m sure I’ve mentioned none of those things, right? 🙂
Friday: Breakfast for dinner, because FRIDAY! We’re also prepping a frittata for Saturday breakfast and a picnic to take to Barrel Oak Winery, since my parents and Yaya are coming to visit and the challenge is on to feed them better than we’ve fed ourselves this sorry week. Challenge: feebly accepted.