20+ Funny Writing Quotes to Make You Feel Better About Being a Writer

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As an aspiring writer (or a well-established one), staring at a blank sheet of paper (or screen) is quite intimidating. Sometimes, you need a kick of inspiration or a glug of motivation to get you on the right track. Well, that’s the beautiful part of writing; you need not look very far to find the best quotes about writing.

Personally, I am a huge fan of comedy and appreciate anyone who works hard to inject funny stuff into their work. The same goes for funny quotes about writing. Nothing makes me feel less like an amateur and more like a fellow artist sharing the writing life with other writing friends.

I searched high and low (seriously, I stumbled across a webpage from 1995 with a few gems) for the best funny writing quotes to make you laugh, inspire you, and, at the very least, get you back to the keyboard (or blank page).

Top 20 Funny Writing Quotes (to Motivate You)

funny writing quotes

The following quotes are in no specific order. Some are laugh-out-loud, hilarious quotes as if comedians wrote them. Others are simply a good laugh or chuckle. Whatever the case is, this collection of funny quotes about writing will make you think. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

“The pen is mightier than the sword, and considerably easier to write with.”

– Marty Feldman

“I can’t understand why a person will take a year to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars.”

– Fred Allen

“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”

– Red Smith

“All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.”

– George Orwell

“The secret of popular writing is never to put more on a given page than the common reader can lap off it with no strain whatsoever on his habitually slack attention.”

– Ezra Pound

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

– Douglas Adams

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

– Stephen King

“I do not like to write – I like to have written.”

– Gloria Steinem

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.”

– Steven Wright

“A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.”

– Baltasar Gracián

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

– Nathaniel Hawthorne

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”

– Agatha Christie

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time; unlike, say, a brain surgeon.”

– Robert Cormier

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of ‘The Elements of Style.’ The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now while they’re happy.”

– Dorothy Parker

“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.”

– Peter De Vries

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

– Thomas Mann

“The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.”

– Russell Baker

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

– E.L. Doctorow

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

– W. Somerset Maugham

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Famous Authors and Their Funny Writing Quotes

Some writers are synonymous with their wit and unique views about the art of written word. I have to mention them here because, well, these people have clearly mastered the art of writing.

Mark Twain’s Humorous Take on Writing

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it, and the writing will be just as it should be.”

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”

Oscar Wilde’s Witty Writing Quotes

“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”    

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

Kurt Vonnegut’s Unique Thoughts on Writing

“This is what I find encouraging about the writing trades: They allow lunatics to seem saner than sane.”

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”    

“Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.”

“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”

Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens on Humor

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”    

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. So write your story as it needs to be written.”

“Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.”

Virginia Woolf Will Leave You Howling

“Writing is like sex. First, you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”

Ernest Hemingway’s Earnest Observations

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in shock-proof shit-detector.”

“The first draft of anything is garbage.”

Ray Bradbury’s Quotation Chronicles 

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

“I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously.”

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

Impact of Funny Writing Quotes on Readers

I’m assuming you’re here to find inspiration to keep writing (aren’t we all) or looking for that one quip that’ll fit nicely into your latest writing piece. But who said you need to quote the greats? You have everything you need to write your own classic material!

It is a well-established fact that humor has a positive effect on memory recall. However, the exact reason for this effect is unknown. It is speculated that humorous content tends to be more memorable because it triggers emotional responses and engages people’s attention. When information is presented in a humorous or entertaining way, it can enhance the encoding and retrieval processes in memory. #Science

So, it is safe to assume that adding humor to your writing tickles the happy glands in your readers, thus making them more susceptible to your story/message. (And yes, I’m well aware there are no such things as happy glands–work with me here.) But how exactly do you implement humor into your writing? 

Keep reading to find out.

How to Implement Humor in Your Writing

If you’re sweating at this point, fear not. No one is asking you to stand on stage at your local coffee shop’s open mic night. Implementing humor into your writing is a lot less hard work than you think. Here are five examples to elicit some laughter from your readers:

  1.  Puns and Wordplay: You don’t need to be the next Dr. Seuss to sprinkle a little wordplay into your work. Incorporating a pun or two adds a playful element to your writing. Just make sure that the wordplay is relevant and fits the context. (You have no idea how hard I am restraining myself from adding a pun here.)
  2.  Analogies and Metaphors: Make a point to give your readers visual cues with analogies and metaphors. Sometimes, taking complex information and relaying it in a more familiar sense helps your readers to grasp what you are saying. And to save you the Google search: an analogy uses a structured format to show how two sets of things are alike, while metaphors directly assert that one thing is similar to another without using “like” or “as.”
  3.  Satire and Self-deprecation: David Sedaris is a master at this form of humor. You can employ satire to criticize or mock human flaws, society, institutions, or even yourself. In doing so, you can tackle subjects that seem insurmountable or taboo. As always, be mindful of your tone and context. You don’t want to come across as offensive.
  4.  Exaggeration and Hyperbole: Taking a fact and stretching it juuuuust a bit helps make details or situations much more memorable to your readers. How far you stretch the truth is up to you, the writer. 
  5.  Anecdotes and Personal Stories: Sharing funny anecdotes or real-life experiences can help connect you with readers personally. How much you insert yourself into your work is dictated by the medium of your writing. I’m sure an academic advisor wouldn’t want to read about your night out with friends in your thesis. Then again, what’s stopping you?

Importance of Timing in Funny Writing

Humorous writing can be deployed in one of two ways: 1.) breaking tension or 2.) disrupting expectations.

Both methods require proper timing to implement. I will use two of my favorite (British) writers/comedians to demonstrate each.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a master at comedic timing. In her hit series Fleabag, a dark and vulgar comedy, PWB uses humor to diffuse countless difficult situations. Here’s one brief exchange of Fleabag and the Priest discussing a heavy-handed topic, the purpose of life:

The Priest: Why would you believe in something awful when you can believe in something wonderful!?
Fleabag: Don’t make me an optimist; you will ruin my life.

It’s a subtle joke but effective in diffusing further tension around a taboo subject. Now, what about disrupting expectations? For that, I’ll let James Acaster demonstrate:

Notice when Acaster earns that very big laugh from the audience. Yes, he earned a few chuckles throughout this anecdote about a childhood car trip. However, after he announces the time of death of an airplane passenger on whom he attempted heart surgery with a spork–a completely unexpected disruption to the bit–that’s when the audience bursts out in their biggest laugh.

Both Phoebe and James are working for laughs; that’s the entire point of their work. For you and your writing, look for those moments that are too heavy or intense and relieve your reader a bit with properly timed humor. Just don’t over do it or make it feel forced.

Influence of Humor on Reader Engagement

I can’t remember the last time I read a serious article or book that didn’t use humor. I can’t remember because humor makes ideas stick in your brain. If your goal as a writer is to gain more followers, write a best-seller, or at the very least, foster a decent writing career, you will need engaged readers. And engaged readers, like most humans, enjoy humor.

I’m not saying you need to be a comedic writer or humorist. However, wielding the comedic pen from time to time will not only turn you into a great writer, but it will also leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Take, for example, when you were young and in school. To this day, anytime my wife asks me how many cups are in a half gallon, my brain automatically sings: “One gallon, four quarts, eight pints, sixteen cups, Purple People Eater!”

Why a Purple People Eater? I have no clue. But that silly, ridiculous image and catchy tune I learned in second grade is so far lodged in my brain that I will never not know my units of volume conversion rates. It is also another argument for adopting the metric system. But I digress.

The point is humor is a powerful tool for writers. Use it.

Conclusion: The Power of Humor in Writing

If you know of a better way to make the writing and reading process enjoyable for both parties involved, I’m all ears. Sure, this article is a list of my favorite quotes about writing. But–I hope–it’s something much more helpful than that.

I hope these funny sayings motivate and inspire you to practice your craft.

Who knows, maybe one day a funny thing you wrote will make this list of famous quotes.