My Favorite Quotes on Writing

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. 
Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

U. S. President and Drafter of Declaration of Independence

Either write things worth reading,
or do things worth the writing. 

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)
Statesman and Inventor

I have made this letter longer than usual,
because I lack the time to make it short. 

Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662)
Mathematician and Philosopher

If written directions alone would suffice,
libraries wouldn’t need to have the rest of the universities attached. 

Judith Martin
Miss Manners

Put it before them briefly so they will read it,
clearly so they will appreciate it,
picturesquely so they will remember it and,
above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light. 

Joseph Pulitzer (1847 – 1911)
Journalist and Newspaper Publisher

Here I am paying big money to you writers and what for?
All you do is change the words. 

Samuel Goldwyn (1882 – 1974)
Movie Producer

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. 
Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)
Essayist, Lexicographer, and Poet

Writing comes more easily if you have something to say. 
Sholem Asch (1880 – 1957)
Novelist and Dramatist

The more you read, the better you’ll write. 
Lynn Bailey
Romance Author

Hard writing makes easy reading.
Wallace Stegner (1913 – 1993)
Novelist and Literary Professor

Those who write clearly have readers;
those who write obscurely have commentators. 

Albert Camus (1913 – 1960)
Journalist, Novelist, and Playwright

Real seriousness in regard to writing is one of two absolute necessities.
The other, unfortunately, is talent. 

Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)
Journalist and Novelist

Practice, practice, practice writing.
Writing is a craft that requires both talent and acquired skills.
You learn by doing, by making mistakes,
and then seeing where you went wrong. 

Jeffrey A. Carver
Science Fiction Author

There arises from a bad and unapt formation of words
a wonderful obstruction to the mind. 

Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)
Essayist and Father of Deductive Reasoning

Vigorous writing is concise.
(from “The Elements of Style”, 1919)
William Strunk Jr. (1869 – 1946)
Writer and Educator

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. 
Elmore Leonard

Present to inform, not to impress;
if you inform, you will impress. 

Frederick P. Brooks
Computer Science Professor

This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read. 
Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
British Prime Minister

Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all. 
Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
British Prime Minister

For concise, yet comprehensive documents, send your technical writers to our Quality Systems Documentation course. We have classes scheduled for February 3-4 in Atlanta, GA; February 23-24 in Reston, VA; March 16-17 in Detroit, MI; April 15-16 in Reston, VA; May 11-12 in Atlanta, GA; and June 10-11 in Minneapolis, MN.