Gini Dietrich

Beautifully Written Quotes to Inspire Your Writing and Your Life

By: Gini Dietrich | May 19, 2016 | 
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Beautifully Written QuotesBy Gini Dietrich

I have a secret: I keep a file of quotes I love to inspire my writing.

Typically, they’re descriptive quotes that improve a person’s writing, such as:

Guarded by dogs of the species that asks questions later. — Chris Cleave, Everything Brave Is Forgiven

Isn’t that a beautiful sentence? You can picture the dogs immediately and, while there isn’t a specific species mentioned, we probably all have the same visual.

And, while not a single sentence, I love this description about a morning routine:

I am gently awakened between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning by the sweet calls of the downy-throated songbirds welcoming me into a new day. I arise and dine on a firm scramble of eggs, laid at dawn by my cluck of heirloom chickens, and sip coffee from the rarest Kopi Luwak bean, harvested deep in the Sumatran jungle.

So after that… you can imagine that I flit to my desk and dip the nib of my fountain pen in the corner inkwell, and the marketing insights spill out of me onto the page with the same intensity as the yolks of those heirloom eggs as they spread across my breakfast plate.

Or: I’m woken by a small furry dog sniffing around my head because her breakfast is late. Again. — Ann Handley, My Morning Routine

After I read that, I vowed to be much more entertaining in my writing, but it’s not easy. The woman has a gift!

On Working Hard

To get there, though, I refer often to my file of quotes and I thought it’d be fun to share some of them here with you.

We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in. — Arianna Huffington

Working hard is way more fun. If you had to goof off 40 hours a week, you couldn’t do it. It would drive you crazy. — Manoj Bhargava

Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things. — Byron Dorgan

My success just evolved from working hard at the business at hand each day. — Johnny Carson

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. — Winston Churchill

On Women’s Empowerment

Women attribute their success to working hard, luck, and help from other people. Men will attribute that—whatever success they have, that same success—to their own core skills. — Sheryl Sandberg

We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead. — Beyonce

Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country. — Margaret Thatcher

A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water. — Eleanor Roosevelt

If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito. — Anita Roddick

On Failure

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. — Thomas Edison

It’s not about money or connections — it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone… And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time. — Mark Cuban

Some people dream of success… while others wake up and work hard at it. — Unknown

Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. — Michael Jordan

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just Beautiful Writing

Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living. — Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering. — Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

I know so many last words. But I will never know hers.” — John GreenLooking For Alaska

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you. — A.A. MilneWinnie The Pooh

I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world. — Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorn and Roses

Your Favorite Quotes

And now the floor is yours.

What are some of your favorite quotes?

Do you have a file of beautifully written sentences?

Let’s see ’em!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • I have a few. Unsurprisingly, many are from The Great Gatsby, the standard to which I hold everything I write — and the standard by which I continually underachieve; but I keep at it, hoping that one day I will write something that touches and inspires someone the way Gatsby touches and inspires me.

    FROM GATSBY:

    “There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.” Reminds me of the power of imagination and the illusions we can create for ourselves.

    “Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.”

    “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one … just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

    “He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was.”

    FROM ELSEWHERE:

    “Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” — Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

    “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” — Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan, A League Of Their Own

    “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” — Jack Kerouac, On The Road

    “Thinking I’m a moron gives people something to feel smug about,” Charles Wallace said. “Why should I disillusion them?” — Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time

    “I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.” — Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

    Those last two are related. Too much happens in the world that I don’t understand… so it is strangely comforting and inspiring to think that there’s a plan to it all, even if I don’t get it.

    “Sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret. Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don’t know why we are sad, so we say we aren’t sad but we really are.” — Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

    I’ve been Bipolar II my entire adult life, and I still struggle with it now and again. The hardest part of the condition for me is pretending to others that it doesn’t exist.

    This could go on all day… but these are a few.

    • First, I will say this about The Great Gatsby…I don’t think you underachieve that goal AT ALL.

      Secondly, do you have these in a notebook somewhere? Because you came up with them really quickly and I am super impressed! Also, I LOVE The Velveteen Rabbit quote!

    • Michele Adamo

      Christopher, thanks for sharing these quotes (This Jeremiah is also my favorite one, hands down!) and your BPD story. I just went to an amazing event here in Rhode Island yesterday, and wanted to share this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-peace-of-mind-storytellers-tickets-17426725806 Speakers were UNBELIEVABLE…stay tuned for these TED-style talks to be available on the PeaceLove Studios website soon!

  • Love this. I have a book of quotes I keep close at hand for inspiration. Here are a couple of my favourites:

    “Develop your eccentricities while you are young. That way when you get old people won’t think you are going gaga.” David Ogilvy

    “Never rest on your oars. If you do, the whole company starts sinking.”
    Lee Iacocca

  • “The most wasted of days is that in which one has not laughed.”

  • I love this. Thanks for the post Gini

  • Oh I love this post! One of my faves is another one of A A Milne’s quotes is: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

    • Or, in the words of Sesame Street: You’re stronger, smarter, kinder!

  • What a GREAT topic! Love it. My favorite is “Every problem has a solution.” (From the movie Philadelphia) I can get into catastrophic thinking quite easily, feeling all of my options have been exhausted when that is often not the case! // I also love your emphasis on fine writing — reinforcing your (and my) belief reading and excellent writing are intertwined. More of my faves in this blog post: http://biggreenpen.com/2014/07/13/favorite-quotes/

  • Normally not a quote person, mostly because they seem .. programmed, posted, shared w/out reason or context. Faking it. That typed, I do really like this b/c as you shared, context. This is about good writing, quotes you like for specific reasons.

    So I guess it’s time for me to start an Evernote or Pinterest board, for quotes outside the PR/communications realm. FWIW one I have in front of me, I like the word flip and find it funny, true: “A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” – Douglas Adams.

  • I’m a sucker for good quotes!! Ever since I was a teenager I’ve kept files of them. Now I pin them on Pinterest. My current favorite is this one from Charles Bukowski, “Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”

    I also love the Arianna Huffington quote you have here. Such a good reminder now that my workdays are significantly shorter thanks to our little 7-week bundle of joy. 🙂

    • Pilar Iglesias

      Love!

      • Pilar! You’ll appreciate this. Her newborn wants to be held constantly. So she’s wearing him while she walks on her treadmill desk…and works. It’s brilliant!

    • I really love how you’re multi-tasking, though. It’s quite ingenious! And he’s already seven weeks old? Wow!

  • I see that top photo and I think it is a plug for a retail store! 8)

    A memory of a man in his old age is the deeds of a man in his prime – Pink Floyd

    The moment someone decided what was beautiful, ugly was born. – Lao Tzu

    I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

    The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. – Hunter S Thompson

    Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

    The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

    Sun Tzu – Art of War

    The last 3 are really important. When I first read the Art of War in 2005 I thought ‘My God the US/Bush/Cheney did the complete opposite of what this book is saying in Iraq.’

    • And one of my faves…..omg can’t believe I missed this!

      You know you don’t have to act with me, Steve. You don’t have to say anything, and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow.

      – Lauren Bacall to Humphrey Bogart via Ernest Hemmingway

    • Howie, it’s a plug for me to buy new shoes.

  • Laura Petrolino

    Oh man…I love this. I have a ton I keep together on a little note document.

    A few of my favs:

    “Not till we are completely lost or turned around… do we begin to find ourselves.”
    ~ Henry David Thoreau

    “It’s it funny how day by day nothing changes, but whenyou look back, everything is different.”
    -C.S. Lewis

    “She wasn’t doing a thinkg that I could see, except standing there, leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
    -J.D. Salinger

    “Every wall is a door”
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “Getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air”
    -Sarah Kay (this entire speech always gives me goosebumps https://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter?language=en)

    “Things come to those who wait, but only the leftovers from those who hustle”
    -Abe Lincoln

    “Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction”
    -Al Bernstein

    “At one point in your life you either have the thing you want or the reasons why you don’t”
    – Andy Roddick

    “I am looking for a lot of people who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done. ”
    – Henry Ford

    “Sanity may be madness but the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be.”
    – Don Quixote

    If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough. – Mario Andretti

    “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us”

    “When a bulb burns out
    we just change it–
    it’s not the bulb we love;
    it’s the light.”

    -Katie Knapp

    And of course….

    “I don’t always know what I’m talking about but I know I’m right. ”
    – Muhammad Ali

    • I would also add, “I am not exaggerating!” to the Ali quote.

      • Laura Petrolino

        BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh yes…most definitely!

  • I have so many, but my all-time favourite is:

    To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

    ~e. e. cummings

    • Laura Petrolino

      Oh…I love that so much! I have several from e.e. cummings which I also adore. This one is being added to my list!

    • I feel like you should have written that all in lowercase.

  • “None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone”. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

  • I love this post! It’s always fun to see a type of post like this, especially when you need something like this to keep going in a rut. I think these can be so helpful to remember and reference whenever needed. I love the quote: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” I think this can be so relative to everyone and especially in the work place. Thanks for the uplifting post, Gini!

    • Our greatest weakness does, indeed, lie in giving up. Thanks, Emily!

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