„The less he sees of other writers the more of a writer he will ultimately become. When he sees scarcely anyone except other writers, he is ready for New York.“

Nonconformity (1953/1996)
Context: The American middle class's faith in personal comfort as an end in itself is, in essence, a denial of life. And it has been imposed upon American writers and playwrights strongly enough to cut them off from their deeper sources. The shortcut to comfort is called “specialization,” and in an eye-ear-nose-and-throat doctor this makes sense. But in a writer it is fatal. The less he sees of other writers the more of a writer he will ultimately become. When he sees scarcely anyone except other writers, he is ready for New York.

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
Nelson Algren photo
Nelson Algren30
American novelist, short story writer 1909 - 1981

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„Like every writer, he measured the virtues of other writers by their performance, and asked that they measure him by what he conjectured or planned.“

—  Jorge Luis Borges, book Ficciones

"The Secret Miracle"; Variant: Like all writers, he measured the achievements of others by what they had accomplished, asking of them that they measure him by what he envisaged or planned.
Source: Ficciones (1944)

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„The original writer is not he who refrains from imitating others, but he who can be imitated by none.“

—  François-René de Chateaubriand French writer, politician, diplomat and historian 1768 - 1848

L’écrivain original n’est pas celui qui n’imite personne, mais celui que personne ne peut imiter.
The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1979) 3rd edition
Variant translations:
The original style is not the style which never borrows of any one, but that which no other person is capable of reproducing.
As translated by Charles I. White (1856) Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 3
An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1980) 15th edition.
Le génie du Christianisme (1802)

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„All a writer has to do to get a woman is to say he's a writer. It's an aphrodisiac.“

—  Saul Bellow Canadian-born American writer 1915 - 2005

As quoted in "Dailer's Choice" by Harriet Van Horne, in New York Magazine Vol. 10, No. 13 (28 March 1977), p. 80
General sources

Bertrand Russell photo

„A European who goes to New York and Chicago sees the future… when he goes to Asia he sees the past.“

—  Bertrand Russell logician, one of the first analytic philosophers and political activist 1872 - 1970

Source: 1920s, Sceptical Essays (1928), Ch. 8: Eastern and Western Ideals of Happiness

„He was known to some people as a writer.“

—  William Feather Publisher, Author 1889 - 1981

Obituary written for himself as one "that would be satisfactory to me in the event of an undesired, but possible, exit" in October 1933, as quoted in "Featherisms" by Ted Landphair at VOA News (6 October 2008) http://blogs.voanews.com/tedlandphairsamerica/2008/10/06/featherisms/
Context: He was known to some people as a writer. In his writings he espoused thrift, industry, promptness, perseverance, and dependability. … As far as was possible, the subject of this sketch practiced what he preached. Some of his enemies point to this trait as his foremost weakness.

William Golding photo

„The writer probably knows what he meant when he wrote a book, but he should immediately forget what he meant when he's written it.“

—  William Golding British novelist, poet, playwright and Nobel Prize for Literature laureate 1911 - 1993

As quoted in Novelists in Interview (1985) edited by John Haffenden

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„The more consistently Austrian School an economist is, the better a writer he will be.“

—  Murray N. Rothbard American economist of the Austrian School, libertarian political theorist, and historian 1926 - 1995

As quoted in "An intellectual Autobiography" by Bryan Kaplan, in I Chose Liberty : Autobiographies of Contemporary Libertarians (2010) edited by Walter Block, p. 75.

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„A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself.“

—  Marianne Moore American poet and writer 1887 - 1972

Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963)

Martin Amis photo
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„Unless a writer works constantly to improve and refine the tools of his trade they will be useless instruments if and when the moment of inspiration, of revelation, does come. This is the moment when a writer is spoken through, the moment that a writer must accept with gratitude and humility, and then attempt, as best he can, to communicate to others.“

—  Madeleine L'Engle American writer 1918 - 2007

The Expanding Universe (1963)
Context: I heard a famous author say once that the hardest part of writing a book was making yourself sit down at the typewriter. I know what he meant. Unless a writer works constantly to improve and refine the tools of his trade they will be useless instruments if and when the moment of inspiration, of revelation, does come. This is the moment when a writer is spoken through, the moment that a writer must accept with gratitude and humility, and then attempt, as best he can, to communicate to others.
A writer of fantasy, fairly tale, or myth must inevitably discover that he is not writing out of his own knowledge or experience, but out of something both deeper and wider. I think that fantasy must possess the author and simply use him. I know that this is true of A Wrinkle in Time. I can’t possibly tell you how I came to write it. It was simply a book I had to write. I had no choice. And it was only after it was written that I realized what some of it meant.
Very few children have any problem with the world of the imagination; it’s their own world, the world of their daily life, and it’s our loss that so many of us grow out of it.

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„He has attained supremacy in one particular line: he succeeds in inspiring a mysterious terror better than any other writer.“

—  J. Sheridan Le Fanu Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels 1814 - 1873

M. R. James "The Novels and Stories of J. Sheridan Le Fanu" (1923). http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~pardos/ArchiveLeFanu.html
Criticism

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„Yeah, well, we're all writers, aren't we? He's a writer that hasn't been published, and I'm a writer who hasn't written anything.“

—  Steve Martin American actor, comedian, musician, author, playwright, and producer 1945

Source: Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays

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