50 Stephen King Quotes on Writing for Aspiring Writers


Stephen King is undoubtedly one of the most renowned and influential authors in the world. A prolific writer, he has created an immense amount of books that have become part of popular culture. He’s labeled as the master of horror writing and his works have set the standard for a whole generation’s taste in the genre. His stories have made him one of the most recognized writers globally and he’s sold more than 350 million copies over his extensive career.

Throughout the years, Stephen King has motivated lots of people to put their work out there. He’s indisputably the most successful author of his time and still continues to write chilling yet incredible pieces. If you’re a writer, it’s impossible not to feel inspired by all the success he’s achieved.

Here are some of his quotes on writing that are sure to inspire you to write great works of your own. These quotes each symbolize a certain aspect of what it means to write.

Quote 1: “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” This quote by Stephen King emphasizes the power of books to transport readers to another world and provide them with an escape from reality. It suggests that there is something magical about reading, as it can bring us joy and allow us to explore different ideas and feelings.

Quote 2: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” This quote highlights the importance of hard work in writing and encourages writers not to rely solely on inspiration but instead take action and put time and effort into their work. It reminds us that great writing takes dedication and perseverance.

Quote 3: “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” In this quote, King warns against overusing adverbs in writing as they often weaken the impact of words and make prose seem clumsy and unprofessional. He emphasizes the need for concise, precise language when writing.

Quote 4: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Through this statement, King underscores the significance of reading in developing one’s writing skills. Reading gives us valuable knowledge and experience which we can use to inform our own work and make it more effective.

Quote 5: “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” This quote stresses the importance of creating vivid imagery in writing that appeals to the audience’s senses and emotions rather than relying too heavily on the writer’s own imagination.

Quote 6: “In many cases when a reader puts down a story, he knows more than he did at the beginning.” King believes that stories should leave readers feeling like they have gained insight upon finishing them. Good writing should be educational and impart some kind of knowledge or understanding upon its reader.

Quote 7: “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Fear of failure is common among writers, but King urges us to push past these fears and start writing anyway. He reminds us that the only way to overcome this fear is to take the first step and begin.

Quote 8: “The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.” Here, King advises writers to focus on the present-day narrative rather than delving too deeply into backstory. He emphasises how unnecessary information can bog down a story and distract readers from the main plot.

Quote 9: “To write is human, to edit is divine.” This quote points out the importance of editing and polishing your work to ensure that it reads well and conveys your message clearly. Writing without revising will result in an inferior product, so King encourages us to spend time reworking our drafts until they reach perfection.

Quote 10: “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” King suggests that horror stories serve a purpose beyond mere entertainment; they can also be used as a form of therapy, allowing us to confront and process difficult issues in a safe environment.

Quote 11: “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.” This quote speaks to the idea that writing should be done with more than just a monetary reward in mind – it should be done for the purpose of enriching one’s own life, as well as the lives of readers. It encourages writers to focus on creating something meaningful, rather than merely pursuing fame or fortune.

Quote 12: “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.” This quote emphasizes the importance of researching and gathering details when crafting a story. A writer’s job is not only to write, but also to uncover hidden gems from the past and bring them back to the present.

Quote 13: “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.” Stephen King is warning against overusing adverbs in writing, which can lead to clumsy and amateurish prose. He believes that good writing relies upon strong verbs, precise descriptions, and vivid imagery, rather than relying on adverbs for emphasis.

Quote 14: “The two most important things you need to write are a pen and an idea.” This quote stresses the importance of having an idea before starting to write. Without an idea there is no basis for the story and no direction for where it should go. Additionally, this quote reminds us that even if we don’t have access to fancy equipment, all we really need to write is a pen and paper.

Quote 15: “The best stories are the ones that make the reader feel something.” This quote implies that powerful storytelling comes from invoking emotion in the reader. Whether it’s joy, sorrow, anger, fear, etc., the goal should be to move the audience emotionally through our words.

Quote 16: “The most important thing for a writer is to not be afraid. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.” Writing takes courage, and often times we can be held back by our fears and doubts. But this quote encourages writers to take risks and push beyond their comfort zones. After all, fear can prevent us from achieving true greatness.

Quote 17: “You have to stay faithful to what you’re trying to say. You also have to stay open to the unexpected. It’s important to be flexible.” As writers, it’s important to remain true to our vision and intentions, while at the same time leaving room for surprises that may come along the way. We must remain both rigid and flexible in order to create the best version of our work.

Quote 18: “The worst thing you can do is go into a story with a plan.” While outlining helps provide structure and direction, going into a story with too much of a plan can limit creativity and stifle potential. Although planning can help set expectations, it’s important to leave room for spontaneity and surprise.

Quote 19: “The best writing is rewriting.” Rewriting is the key to good writing. Taking the time to go back and revise one’s work is essential to producing quality content. Not only does rewriting allow us to fix typos and grammar mistakes, but it also allows us to refine our ideas and add new elements.

Quote 20: “The most important rule of writing is that there are no rules.” This quote encourages experimentation and taking chances when it comes to writing. Every piece of writing is unique, and therefore requires its own approach and techniques. There is no single right way to write, so be creative and find the style and method that works best for you.

Quote 21: “The most important rule of writing is that there are no rules.” This adage speaks to the freedom and creativity inherent in writing. It encourages writers to break free from conventions and explore new ideas, voices, and formats without being limited by what has already been done. Ultimately, it suggests that the only real limit when it comes to writing is your own imagination.

Quote 22: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Reading and writing go hand-in-hand; they feed off each other and create an ever-evolving cycle of inspiration. By reading widely and deeply, writers can expand their knowledge base, discover new perspectives, and hone their craft through practice.

Quote 23: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Reading is essential for any aspiring writer, as it provides the necessary fuel for creative expression. Without the insight gained through reading, writers may find themselves unable to effectively convey their stories or messages. Therefore, making the time to read is critical for anyone who wants to master the art of writing.

Quote 24: “Writing isn’t a career, it’s a calling.” Writing is more than just a job; it’s an invitation to explore one’s passions, beliefs, and creative potential. Writers must answer this call with dedication and commitment if they wish to make something meaningful out of their work.

Quote 25: “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” Here, Stephen King emphasizes the importance of taking risks and pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. Aspiring writers must be willing to take a chance on themselves, even if it feels intimidating. Once they summon the courage to start, they will find that they have within them the capacity to achieve great things.

Quote 26: “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.” Although fame and fortune are attractive incentives, true success as a writer lies in creating something that has a lasting impact on its readers. Writing also enriches the author’s life by providing a platform for self-expression and personal growth.

Quote 27: “The first draft of anything is shit.” No matter how talented the writer, the first attempt at any piece of writing is bound to be imperfect. However, this quote serves as a reminder that mistakes and shortcomings can be corrected with hard work and dedication. With patience and effort, even the most unpolished drafts can become works of art.

Quote 28: “The most important things to remember about backstory are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.” Every character in a story has a past, but not every detail of that past needs to be added into the narrative. Though it may seem like adding background information adds depth to characters, too much irrelevant detail can bog down the plot and distract from the main focus of the story.

Quote 29: “The best way to learn to be a better writer is to write.” Writing is a skill that improves with practice. The only way to get better is to keep producing content – even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time around. Over time, the quality of output will increase as the writer develops their technique and understanding of the craft.

Quote 30: “Writing isn’t life, but I think sometimes it can be a way back to life.” Writing can provide an escape from reality, allowing us to express our innermost thoughts and feelings in ways we wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable doing in public. It can also be used as a tool to process difficult emotions and experiences, helping us to reconnect with ourselves and find healing.

Quote 31: “The best stories come from the heart, not the head.” While it is important to understand the technical aspects of writing, the most powerful pieces of literature often come from emotional connections to a subject. When authors are able to combine expertise with passion and empathy, they are able to produce truly incredible works.

Quote 32: “Writing is about discovering what you believe.” Writing can be used as a means of self-discovery, enabling us to explore our values and opinions in greater depths. Through writing, we can gain a deeper understanding of who we are and what matters to us.

Quote 33: “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference.” Writing requires a great deal of discipline and dedication, and having support from people who understand the challenges faced by writers can make the journey easier. Knowing that you are surrounded by people who believe in you and your work can help inspire and motivate you to pursue your dreams.

Quote 34: “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” This quote is a reminder that we all possess the power to create and bring our ideas to life. We simply need the courage to take the first step and trust in our innate ability to succeed.

Quote 35: “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Writing can serve as an escape from harsh realities, providing us with a place to retreat to during times of difficulty. Rather than succumbing to despair, writers should use their words to tell stories that remind them of hope and joy.

Quote 36: “Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.” Writing can bring solace, companionship, and respite during moments of loneliness. Through writing, we can find comfort in the imagined conversations and interactions we have with our fictional characters, allowing us to connect with the world around us in a unique and meaningful way.

Quote 37: “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” This quote reiterates the importance of taking risks and pushing oneself beyond one’s perceived limits. Writers must be willing to put in the hard work needed to overcome fear and doubt in order to create something special.

Quote 38: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” This adage speaks to the perseverance and resilience required to reach success as a writer. Becoming proficient at the craft takes time and effort, and only those who remain committed to their craft despite facing obstacles along the way can eventually reach their goals.

Quote 39: “Writing is a lonely job, but the best way to beat the loneliness is to tell a story.” Stories allow us to share our experiences and connect with others, regardless of physical distance. By pouring our hearts into our work, we can bridge the gap between ourselves and our readers, transforming loneliness into a source of comfort and community.

Quote 40:“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” This quote is a reminder to writers that they should write with all their heart and soul, to stay focused on the prize. But should be humble enough to admit that they could be better writers.

Quote 41: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings. This is magnificent advice to every writer. It tells you to never grow attached to any character. It stunts your growth as a writer. Never be afraid to let go of a character in your stories.

Quote 42: “If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.” This quote says a lot about how you should address your readers. You should always be ready to push the boundaries of your art and write as truthfully as possible. Be as authentic with your writing and be courageous when you are faced with challenges.

Quote 43: “Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.” Writing can be considered as a form of therapy. If you feel bad or just want to let out your frustrations, writing is a truly effective method.

Quote 44: “Just remember that Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him.” This quote tells writers to have belief in themselves. In truth everything you need to create a literary masterpiece in within yourself. You don’t need anything else to succeed. Just look deep within yourself.

Quote 45: “You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”  This quote reminds you that you should always write with your heart. If you can make yourself feel a certain emotion with your writing, you can certainly make your readers feel these emotions too.

Quote 46: “Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how-to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.” This quote shows you that reading is an integral part of the writing process. No writer has ever become great without being an avid reader. It is technically a pre-requisite to becoming a writer. By being an avid reader you are also given the chance to hone your skills and develop your own writing style.

Quote 47: “I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, most fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read.” The quote tells you to be a wide reader. You don’t have to be a speed-reader, just as long as you thoroughly enjoy the book. All in all to be a good writer, you need to be able to enjoy good literature.

Quote 48: “I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words. That’s 180,000 words over a three-month span, a goodish length for a book — something in which the reader can get happily lost, if the tale is done well and stays fresh.” The quote is a reminder to readers that when you write a book you always have to be accountable for the amount of writing you do. The more you write the faster your book gets finished. So you should always put in the work, and never slack off in your work.

Quote 49: “The book is not the important part. The book is the delivery system. The important part is the story and the talent.” The book itself isn’t as important as the story it contains and the talent of the author. The focus should be on creating a captivating story with well-crafted characters, rather than worrying about the physical form of the book.

Quote 50: “You can never bend reality to serve the fiction. You have to bend the fiction to serve reality when you find those things out.” This quote reminds us to use reality as inspiration for our writing. When researching or checking facts while writing, we must be willing to change the fiction in order to ensure accuracy.

Who is Stephen King?

Stephen Edwin King is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy novels. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, many of which have been adapted into feature films, miniseries, television series, and comic books. He has published 61 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and six non-fiction books. He has also written over 200 short stories.

Final Thoughts

Writing doesn’t have to be a daunting task; it can actually be quite therapeutic. With these words of wisdom from Stephen King, you can conquer your fear of putting words to paper, take charge of your inner creativity, and become the master of your craft. Whether you’re working on a novel, screenplay, poem, or anything else, draw on Stephen King’s quotes and advice for guidance and motivation.

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