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By Words the Mind is Winged: Quotes on Writing and Breathing Space

Some quotes to illustrate the theme of writing and breathing space.

Wings by frielp on Flickr

By words the mind is winged.~ Aristophanes

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.~ Joan Didion

If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.~ Lord Byron

I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.~ Nadime Gordimer

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.  ~Ray Bradbury

Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.~ Don Delillo

Do you have another to add to the list?

Photo credit: Wings by frielp on Flickr

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  1. Brad Shorr says:

    Hi Joanna, I can sure relate to Byron’s quote. Here’s one I just found that resonates with me as well -

    I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

  2. Dianne Murphy-Rodgers says:

    Great theme and inspiring quotes, Joanna, thank you … and gorgeous picture!

    Two Truman Capote quotes for you (couldn’t choose between them!)

    ~ To me the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.

    ~ A writing space is not a physical place, but a place inside your imagination.

    :o )

  3. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Joanna, every single one of these quotes resonated with me. I read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s quote and was instantly transported back to college when her writing so profoundly impacted me. Today Ray Bradbury’s quote is especially poignant. Writing is my sanity, my place to keep hope alive, to destroy the reality that is reported without faith that it will change. And I offer this quote: “Writing is like hunting. There are brutally cold afternoons with nothing in sight only the wind and your breaking heat. Then the moment when you bag something big. The entire process is beyond intoxicating.” -Kate Braverman

    This is why I come to the page over and over again for that moment when you bag something big - it does not happen each time but the pursuit of it is enough to keep trying!

    Karen Swims last blog post..Who Moved My Life?

  4. Matt Hayward says:

    What a great collection of quotes, Joanna. Love ‘em! :D

    Matt Haywards last blog post..A Promise Kept and A Teaser Given

  5. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says:

    One of my favorite quotes:

    Writing exposes what the heart refuses to acknowledge.

    Enjoy, Barbara

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coachs last blog post..I now have 18 free-flying parakeets - Empathy, please!

  6. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    BradI like that Elmore Leonard quote too… that’s my approach to writing, though sometimes I cut so much there’s not much left to read!

    Dianne thanks for those - the first is an old friend of mine… it helped me to realise how much I listen for music when I read, and try and create music when I write… One of these days I’m going to sit down and learn about it properly… one of these days :-) The second is perfect for this theme, and might just feature in a post when I’m back…

    Karen what a fantastic quote… you’re right - and it helps me think through the thing about labels and the love of writing - we do it for those times when we bag something big!

    Matt thanks :-)

    Barbara I love that one… so true. Do you know who said / wrote it?

  7. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says:

    Hi Joanna,

    Actually..that’s an original me quote. :) I always tell my kids to write down their feelings whenever their emotions get short-circuiting….putting things to paper seems to always clear the air.

    Best wishes, Barbara

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coachs last blog post..How do I get a Paypal account?

  8. Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome says:

    I love the Bradbury quote. Reality without my writing would squash me flat.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndromes last blog post..Grieving What We Can’t Have: WAHM Biz Builder Interview

  9. Julie M says:

    I love the writing quotes. There are times just reading a quote can ispire me to write. Writing is definitely a purging of thoughts for me. Thanks!

  10. Sheila Glazov
    Twitter: yourbraincolor

    Joanna, Thank you for the inspiring quotes. I thought you and your readers might enjoy the Literary Quote website. I found the site when I was customizing my Dell startup page with the “add stuff” content options. Each morning I am inspired by other author’s words.Happy Reading, Sheila

    Sheila Glazovs last blog post..A Spring Gift

  11. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Barbara brilliant, I must see how I can quote you on this some day soon :-)

    Alex let’s lift a glass together then, and stay drunk on writing!

    Julie quotes can get me writing too… often the simpler the better. The words remind us of what’s important somehow, and why it really does matter that we chose to put pen to paper.

    Sheila hello, and thanks so much for sharing that resource. I’m sure people will enjoy dipping into it.

  12. Jamie Grove - How Not To Write says:

    “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.” ~Henry Rollins

    “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” ~Mark Twain

    “In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.” ~ Miguel de Cervantes

    “If being awake is the first step to recognizing you have a conscience, why do they make you go to sleep to get in touch with it?” ~ Me

    Jamie Grove - How Not To Writes last blog post..Your Writing Chain Is a Beautiful, Ponderous Thing

  13. Gennaro says:

    Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

    Be obscure clearly. ~E.B. White

    Gennaros last blog post..Restaurants Of Florence

  14. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Jamie thanks for those additions… I love the Cervantes quote ;-)

    Gennaro “be obscure clearly” - that’s brilliant! Suits my style, thanks :-)

  15. Dale says:

    The Aristophanes quote is marvelous - what a wonderful, fresh use of “winged” and to withold it to the last foot of the three iambs. Very nice (and I wonder how much this is owed to the translator).

    My contribution is from Emily Dickinson: “Tell all the Truth, but tell it Slant — / Success in Circuit lies”. There’s an entire writing course in that poem.

    Dales last blog post..April Showers Bring A Fresh New Theme

  16. Alina says:

    I’ve enjoyed these two quotes:

    To withdraw myself from myself has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive in scribbling at all. ~Lord Byron

    Writing is a struggle against silence. ~Carlos Fuentes
    (The sound of pen on paper or fingers tapping on a keyboard is the first step in breaking silence. Just think about when we find ourselves alone and we pick up a book and open its pages. Suddenly, it doesn’t feel so lonely anymore.)

  17. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Alina hi :-) Those are wonderful quotes indeed, esp (for me) the Fuentes one. Thanks for sharing them.

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