Publish date:

12 E.L. Doctorow Quotes for Writers and About Writing

Here are 12 E.L. Doctorow quotes for writers and about writing from the author of Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, and The March. In these quotes, Doctorow covers novel writing, the mind, retirement, and more.

Here are 12 E.L. Doctorow quotes for writers and about writing from the author of Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, and The March. In these quotes, Doctorow covers novel writing, the mind, retirement, and more.

E.L. Doctorow was the author of several novels, including Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, and The March (all of which won the National Book Critics Circle Award). Many of his books have been adapted into movies and often placed fictional characters into familiar historical contexts interacting with known historical figures.

(Writing historical fiction from fact.)

Doctorow was born January 6, 1931. In his early 20s, he was drafted into the Army and served in West Germany in 1954-55 before becoming a reader for a motion picture company. Then, he worked as a book editor at New American Library and Dial Press before pursuing a full-time writing career. Along the way, he also taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Princeton University, and other institutions. He died of lung cancer on July 21, 2015.

Here are 12 E.L. Doctorow quotes for writers and about writing that cover novel writing, retirement, and more.

12 E.L. Doctorow quotes for writers and about writing

"America never gives you anything without you having to pay for it."

Image placeholder title

"If you think about it, all novels, all stories, are set in the past."

Image placeholder title

"I've always thought that I don't have a style, that I don't want one, that each book has its own style. That's its identity."

Image placeholder title

Write Better Novels!

Image placeholder title

Push yourself beyond your comfort zone and take your writing to new heights with this Advanced Novel Writing workshop meant for novelists who are looking for book editing and specific feedback on their work. When you take this online workshop, you won't have weekly reading assignments or lectures. Instead, you'll get to focus solely on completing your novel.

While it is possible to write a novel in a month, in this workshop you'll spend 15 weeks writing yours—all the while gaining valuable feedback and getting the encouragement you need in order to finish writing your novel. You'll also learn specific tips for outlining and how not to write a novel. One thing is for certain though—by the end of this online workshop, you will have the tools and know-how to write a great novel.

Click to continue.

"I've never thought about retiring. Most writers die before they retire."

Image placeholder title

"One of the things I had to learn as a writer was to trust the act of writing."

Image placeholder title

"People know that novelists are liars. And that's why we can be trusted to tell the truth."

Image placeholder title

"The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.'"

Image placeholder title

(Free charts and tips for outlining and plotting a novel.)

"The nature of good fiction is that it dwells in ambiguity."

Image placeholder title

"We may never understand the way the brain becomes the mind, but if we ever do, that's the end of us."

Image placeholder title

"Writing is immensely difficult. The short forms especially."

Image placeholder title

"Writing is not a matter of inventing; it's a matter of discovering."

Image placeholder title

"You do have to learn about yourself while you're writing, and your characteristic ways of self-sabotage."

Image placeholder title
From Script

Writing Empowered Superhero’s in CWs Supergirl and Understanding Animation From the Trenches (From Script)

In this week’s round-up In this week’s round up brought to us by Script Magazine, story editor Katiedid “Did” Langrock speaks with Reckless Creatives podcast. Plus, one-on-one interview with CWs Supergirl actress turned scribe Azie Tesfai about her groundbreaking episode and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: The Characterless Character

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: The Characterless Character

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is writing a characterless character.

When Is My Novel Ready to Read: 7 Self-Editing Processes for Writers

When Is My Novel Ready to Read: 7 Self-Editing Processes for Writers

Fiction editor and author Kris Spisak ties together her seven processes for self-editing novels, including editorial road-mapping, character differentiation analysis, reverse editing, and more.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Unold Crwca: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn unold crwca, a Welsh quatrain form.

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

A spy thriller requires more than a compelling story and clever plot twists—the characters need to feel real. Author Stephanie Marie Thornton offers 5 tips for constructing believable spy characters.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time for a little unexpected team work.

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson discusses the process of writing his new science fiction novel, Purgatory's Shore.

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

Whether you're looking for something cozy or a little spooky, these books are perfect for the fall season.

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

When it comes to a 30 day writing challenge like NaNoWriMo, do you need to prep beforehand to achieve success? Well, that might depend on what kind of writer you are.