5 Great Quotes on (Writing with) Responsibility

As a warm up to this month’s theme here’s a selection of quotes on writing with responsibility:

You are not only responsible for what you say, but what you do not say ~ Martin Luther

The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs ~ Joan Didion

(I knew there was a close connection to the theme of respect - I like the way it’s expressed here, don’t you?)

I try to live what I consider a “poetic existence.” That means I take responsibility for the air I breathe and the space I take up. I try to be immediate, to be totally present for all my work. ~ Maya Angelou

In times like these men should utter nothing for which they would not be willingly responsible through time and in eternity. ~ Abraham Lincoln

(A good reminder that this isn’t the only time we’ve been living through times like these…)

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom. ~ Bob Dylan

If you’ve any more quotes on (writing with) responsibility, please do share!

Thanks for all your thoughtful responses to the opening post on writing with respect. Much food for thought there and I’ll start exploring the theme ‘properly’ once I have a little more time and internet access early next week.

I hope you’ll excuse the ‘easy’ route of going with some quotes as a warm up rather than opening with something meaty, but I just didn’t have the time this week to explore the ideas properly. Back with more substance soon!

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  1. Wendi Kelly · · Reply


    Here is quote for you to add some food for thought:

    It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.
    ~ John Baptiste Moliere

    As a citizen of the world community, I agree with this statement. However, As a writer, how much responsabilty do we have to always speak up? What happens when we as writers look the other way?

    Wendi Kellys last blog post..Tealights and Time

  2. SpaceAgeSage -- Lori · · Reply

    Here are some that might stir some thoughts:

    They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
    ~Carl W. Buechner

    I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head. ~John Updike

    There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.
    ~William Makepeace Thackeray

    The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him. ~James Baldwin


    SpaceAgeSage — Loris last blog post..Lost childhood messages

  3. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. - Albert Einstein

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..A Hat Tip to Blogs I Read in Silence

  4. Great quotes … I’m just too tired right now to come up with one of my own… (grin)

    -Debs last blog post..Service with a Smile

  5. Wendi, that’s a good question and one I don’t pretend to have the answer to. I guess ‘it depends’ is what I’d say. We can’t any of us as humans take responsibility for all the world’s woes or we’d lose our voice under the weight of it. Many people write to stay true to deeply held values and principles that might not have any direct impact on ‘world events’ but help us to build a better world in the long run - like artistic freedom, or the ability to play and experiment, or engaging people in stories.

    Maybe it comes back to your own values and principles - and that your writing responsibility is to stay true to them?

  6. Lori, those are great quotes thank you. I particularly like the Updike quote though I am thinking harder about the Baldwin one. Yes, definitely stirring some thoughts.

  7. Brad, thanks for sharing that one. It raises similar questions to that put by Wendi: how far does this principle apply to our writing, and the choices we make about what we do and don’t write about. Interesting.

    -Deb, no problem, I can see you’re busy with writing your services page!

  8. A Little Early October Weekend Link Love | Freelance Writing Jobs · · Reply

    [...] 25 Quotes on Writing with Responsibility at Confident Writing. [...]

  9. We all have our own responsibility on our daily lif and it’s need a lot of concentration and dedication to get it done!

    So, if you have tried your best, then you won’t need to regret for it.

    wilsons last blog post..Your Children Are Allergy with Egg Products?

  10. Wilson, that’s a good point - we can beat ourselves up taking on too much responsibility… for things we’re not responsible for.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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