Isaac Asimov’s 20 Quotes on Writing

1. “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”

2. “It’s the writing that teaches you.”

3. “Writing is a lonely job. Even if a writer socializes regularly, when he gets down to the real business of his life, it is he and his type writer or word processor. No one else is or can be involved in the matter.”

4. ” For an impoverished child whose family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to charge through that door and make the most of it. Now, when I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.”

5. “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”

6. “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’

7. “It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.”

8. “From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.”

9. “I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing—to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might (if I were good enough) get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics—Well, they can do whatever they wish.”

10. “The first step in making rabbit stew is catching the rabbit.”

11. “Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.”

12. “A couple of months ago I had a dream, which I remember with the utmost clarity. (I don’t usually remember my dreams.)
I dreamed I had died and gone to Heaven. I looked about and knew where I was-green fields, fleecy clouds, perfumed air, and the distant, ravishing sound of the heavenly choir. And there was the recording angel smiling broadly at me in greeting.
I said, in wonder, “Is this Heaven?”
The recording angel said, “It is.”
I said (and on waking and remembering, I was proud of my integrity), “But there must be a mistake. I don’t belong here. I’m an atheist.”
“No mistake,” said the recording angel.
“But as an atheist how can I qualify?”
The recording angel said sternly, “We decide who qualifies. Not you.”
“I see,” I said. I looked about, pondered for a moment, then turned to the recording angel and asked, “Is there a typewriter here that I can use?”
The significance of the dream was clear to me. I felt Heaven to be the act of writing, and I have been in Heaven for over half a century and I have always known this.”

13. “Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction — its essence — has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all.”

14. “Congratulations on the new library, because it isn’t just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you—and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.”

15. “Whenever I have endured or accomplished some difficult task — such as watching television, going out socially or sleeping — I always look forward to rewarding myself with the small pleasure of getting back to my typewriter and writing something.”

16. “What I will be remembered for are the Foundation Trilogy and the Three Laws of Robotics. What I want to be remembered for is no one book, or no dozen books. Any single thing I have written can be paralleled or even surpassed by something someone else has done. However, my total corpus for quantity, quality and variety can be duplicated by no one else. That is what I want to be remembered for.”

17. “You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.”

18. “I write for the same reason I breathe … because if I didn’t, I would die.”

19.  “I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander.”

20. “If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”

Next: Vladimir Nabokov’s 20 Quotes on Writing

see also:

George RR Martin on Writing

Ernest Hemingway on Writing

Stephen King on Writing

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About Azevedo

Singular person (ex-child), slightly knowledgeable about movies, books and humour, who lacks the ability to finish what he...

Posted on July 8, 2013, in 20 Quotes, QUOTES, Uncategorized, WRITING, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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