Writing quotes - pen, notebook, keyboard

Image from Flickr by peteoshea

I’m delighted to welcome Barry Demp, a fantastic business coach from Troy, Michigan, to Aliventures.

I’ve been working with Barry since early 2011, and it’s been a great joy to see him find his voice as a writer. His project The Quotable Coach, started in April this year, has been very successful, with almost 500 people now signed up to receive a daily dose of inspiration straight to their inbox. (If you’re interested, it’s completely free! Just pop on over to The Quotable Coach and sign up in the sidebar.)

Today, Barry has six great quotes for us writers, plus exercises to get us thinking … and hopefully writing!

#1: “When asked, ‘How do you write?’ I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.’”

– Stephen King, author

For many years, I was reluctant to write. Perhaps it was my memories of red pen across my assignments, or the need to show my parents my work before I submitted it. I also focused on the big picture – a whole term paper or even the prospect of writing an entire book – and became gripped by fear of failure and thoughts of being judged.

Stephen King’s quote fits nicely with the fact that writing – as well as most forms of goal achieving – often begin with small steps in the direction of your goals.

By taking the first step and then the next, we can create momentum toward our goal (in this case, writing) and make course corrections along the way


How will bringing a “one word at a time” strategy to your writing – and achievement goals in general – support your most important efforts?


#2: “If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.”

– Richard Rhodes, journalist and author

About 18 years ago, I was given an unusual assignment in a course called “The Wisdom Course.” This year-long program focused on accomplishing more by bringing a greater sense of play into our professional and personal lives.

The assignment we received was to write an autobiography of our lives which included photos and thoughts for each single year – even if we had to make some of it up.

As participants in the program, we shared our stories and thoughts with one another with great interest and fascination.


Select two to five individual years of your life and write your own autobiography for these years.

Expand this by increasing the number of years, and consulting close friends and family so that you can include their thoughts too.


#3: “Genius does take shortcuts, but it rarely escapes initial drudgery.”

– William Feather, publisher and author (attributed)

Have you ever noticed a person with great mastery or skill who accomplishes feats of brilliance with ease?

Whether that’s a writer like Shakespeare, an inventor like Edison, an athlete like Michael Jordon, or performers like the Beatles, they all have something in common. They all experience the not so glowing moments of poor performance, drudgery, or failure.

The eventual “aha!” shiny moments so often come after massive amounts of preparation, without the accolades and standing ovations that we see in the media.


Where does your genius lie, beneath your seemingly mundane daily efforts?

How can you take delight in these efforts, knowing that there’s a great gift just waiting to be revealed?


#4: “When you speak, your words echo across the room. When you write, your words echo across the ages.”

–Bud Gardner, author

The art of speaking and the art of writing are both powerful forms of communication. Unfortunately, the spoken work rarely has the long-standing reach and permanence of the writing word.

Sure we all remember excerpts from powerful speeches of great leaders of the past – yet these rarely have so much impact as written works such as:

  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Constitution
  • The Bill of Rights
  • The Bible
  • The Torah
  • The Koran
  • The Works of Shakespeare
  • Pulitzer prize winning books


Determine how the written word has influenced and impacted your life.

List three to five of your favorite quotes that you live by each day – and perhaps consider sending them to me at barry@dempcoaching.com, or posting them in a comment below.


#5: “Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”

 J. Willard Marriott, entrepreneur and businessman

I like to go to my health club in the morning to help stay fit. It seems to clean out my mental and physical cobwebs and gets my day off to an energized start.

A key component of my fitness journey is to push myself in areas of strength, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility. When we push the limits a bit beyond our comfort, we come back the next day stronger and more capable.

The personal growth and development efforts that seem to make the biggest difference are the ones which test and challenge our “timber.”


Where in your writing life can you lean into the wind and find yourself better off through the process?


#6: “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

 William Shakespeare, playwright

I had a hard time reading Shakespeare in high school – I just didn’t fully get it. Maybe it was my impatience or perhaps I can blame my English teacher!

This quote for me is about fear and how it stops just about all of us in our tracks. Perhaps if we really, really focus on the good we wish to do, then we will find that secret life lever that will have us try, leap, and attempt, in spite of this fear.


Where is fear keeping you from the good you might do?

Where can you find the courage to overcome this fear and make the attempt?



If you enjoyed these, head over to Barry’s site The Quotable Coach for many more inspiring and thought-provoking quotes.

Barry and I would love to know if any of these quotes struck a chord with you – or if you have any great inspirational quotes of your own to share. Just pop a comment below!

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