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The simplest way to change your life is by changing the thoughts you tell yourself. To that end, I’ve spent years collecting quotes from writers, philosophers, thinkers, actors, poets and waitresses. A lot of them are about writing, others are about life. Each one influences who I am and what I write. I’ll be adding them here over time.

Quotes on Writing

“In the end, there may only be one inviolable rule in writing good fiction: never be boring.” – Steven Schoen in The Truth About Fiction

“The writer trusts nothing he writes -- it should be too reckless and alive for that, it should be beautiful and menacing and slightly out of his control. It should want to live itself somehow.” - Joy Williams

“The safe writers have never interested me, do not excite a single shiver of curiosity within me. … Safety is a crime writers should never commit unless they are after tenure or praise. A novelist must wrestle with all the mysteries and strangeness of life itself, and anyone who does not wish to accept that grand, bone-chilling commission should write book reviews, editorials, or health-insurance policies instead. The idea of a novel should stir your blood, and you should rise to it like a lion lifting up at the smell of impala.” – Pat Conroy in “Why I Write”

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“It’s nice to be able to put yourself in an environment where you can completely accept all the unconscious stuff that comes to you from your inner workings of your mind. And block yourself off to where you can control it all, take it down…” – Bob Dylan

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“The average person goes to his grave with his music still in him.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

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“Sometimes I wonder if I’m a character being written, or if I’m writing myself.” – Marilyn Manson

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“When the world becomes a massive mess with nobody at the helm, it’s time for artists to make their mark.” – Joni Mitchell

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“If you’re writing anything decent, it’s in you, it’s your spirit coming out. If it’s not an expression of how a person genuinely feels, then it’s not a good song done with any conviction.” – Alex Chilton

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“If it works, it’s out of date.” – David Bowie

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“Seek that which within lies waiting to begin the fight of your life that is everyday.” – Ian Anderson

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“Hoss, if you can’t do it with feeling – don’t.” – Patsy Cline

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“(They) developed their art without so much as a nodding glance toward their peers.” – Jon Landau

Quotes on life and death

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

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“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.” – Anatole France

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“It’s weird not to be weird.” – John Lennon

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“If you’re just living the same life that everybody else is living what’s the point?” – Todd Rundgren

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Gratitude is the most developed and mature of human emotions. – Natalie Goldberg

Quotes on success

“No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.” – Charles Kettering

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“Do something you really like, and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I’m concerned, that’s success.” – Tom Petty

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“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw

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“I wanted to be successful, not famous.” – George Harrison

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“We succeed only as we identify in life, or in war, or in anything else a single overriding objective, and make all other considerations bend to that one objective.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

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“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” – Neils Bohr

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“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

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“I am too happy in this world to think much about the future.” – Helen Keller

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“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” – Warren Buffett

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“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

Quotes on creativity

“Success is determined not so much by the size of one’s brain as it is by the size of one’s thinking.” – David J. Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big

“Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and you’ll suck forever.” – Brian Wilson

Quotes to motivate and inspire

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

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“You can’t give up something you really believe in for financial reasons. If you die by the roadside, so be it. But at least you know you’ve tried. Ten minutes in the music scene was the equal of one hundred years outside of it.” – Robert Plant

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“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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“The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” – Randy Pausch

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“The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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“There are two predictors for outstanding achievement: 1) Not seeking out new things; 2) Not abandoning tasks in the face of obstacles.” – Paraphrasing work by Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth

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“The tasks assigned to us by others might seem urgent, but what is urgent is seldom important. The important tasks in our lives are the ones that move our hopes, our dreams, our creations, and our businesses forward.” – James Clear

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“I have not failed ten thousand times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those ten thousand ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” – Thomas Edison on inventing the light bulb

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“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

Quotes on psychology

I love this next quote. It’s a reminder of how important results are. We all intend to do a hell of a lot of things, but we’ll take most of those intentions with us to the grave:

“We tend to judge others by their behavior, and ourselves by our intentions.” – Unknown

Quotes on marriage

“You don’t marry a man, you marry a lifestyle.” – Mira Zaslove on Quora

Quotes on love

Remember how intensely you loved your boyfriend/girlfriend when you were a teenager? Love him/her that intensely now. Remember how excited and happy you got about stuff as a kid? Get that excited and happy now. – Sam Altman on Medium

Fredrick Marion

Fredrick Marion

I like books that refuse to let you sleep at night. I like coffee, talking animals and hearing from readers. Sign up for my email newsletter, and I’ll send my latest blog posts to your inbox!

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