15 Encouraging Writing Quotes for When You Feel Like a Failure

encouraging writing quotes

Last year, I wrote a piece about things that you can do when you feel like a failure. About a year later, I find it a slightly weird coincidence that I am writing something about the same topic.

I am not sure if it’s because my subconscious is telling me that I feel like a failure (because I honestly don’t), or if it really is just a coincidence.

In any case, we all need some encouragement from time to time. The reasons may vary. A client may be dissatisfied with your work. You may have the blues, resulting in low output. You may feel that your work isn’t good enough.

Whatever the reason may be, I hope these encouraging writing quotes will give you a morale boost.

1. If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write. – Somerset Maugham

2. It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous. – Robert Benchley

3. Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer. – Ray Bradbury

4. If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer. – David Brin

5. Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good. – William Faulkner

6. Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil—but there is no way around them. – Isaac Asimov

7. If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor. – Edgar Rice Burroughs

8. Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose…not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember. – Anne Sullivan Macy

9. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance. – Samuel Johnson

10. The one ironclad rule is that I have to try. I have to walk into my writing room and pick up my pen every weekday morning. – Anne Tyler

11. Mistakes are the portals of discovery. ~ James Joyce

12. Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin,
but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. – Harper Lee

13. I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent re-writer. – James Michener

14. In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you. – Leo Tolstoy

15. No writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Francisco is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfrancisensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better. Even a failed loaf is not wasted. Likewise, cheese makers wash the dairy floor with whey. Tomato gardeners compost with rotten tomatoes. No writing is wasted: the words you can’t put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better. ― Erin Bow

Allow yourself to feel discouraged, but don’t dwell on it. Get up and do what you can do. Before you realize it, you’ll be back with a vengeance.

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3 responses
  1. Alejandro De La Garza Avatar

    Thank you for this one, Noemi!

  2. Kelly West Avatar

    Very grateful for this. I transitioned from a professional career to freelance writing last November. The first few months were amazing then I ran into an editorial situation at one content company in which they even acknowledged issues with their editors themselves. Writing that was previously deemed great was all of a sudden marked up excessively and rejected. I even got thrown off a project. They put me back on because they admitted that there were editorial issues but it REALLY affected my confidence. Even though I know it wasn’t my writing I am still having a very hard time with it and with all my work but especially with that company. I mean who is to say it won’t happen again? Anyway, I REALLY needed this today of all days and am very grateful to the author. I will save and savor these. Thanks!

    1. Noemi Tasarra-Twigg Avatar
      Noemi Tasarra-Twigg

      I’m so glad to hear that, Kelly. Chin up!

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