10 Ann Patchett Quotes for Writers and About Writing

To celebrate the release of her new novel The Dutch House, here are 10 Ann Patchett quotes about writing and for writers.


Ann Patchett is the bestselling novelist of books such as Bel Canto, Commonwealth, and State of Wonder. This week, she has a new novel coming out, The Dutch House, about a family and their new estate in Philadelphia in the decades following World War II. To celebrate the release of her new book, here are 10 Ann Patchett quotes about writing and for writers to inspire you and motivate you to keep writing.

Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.

Write because you love the art and the discipline, not because you’re looking to sell something.

If a person has never given writing a try, they assume that a brilliant idea is hard to come by. But really, even if it takes some digging, ideas are out there. Just open your eyes and look at the world. Writing the ideas down, it turns out, is the real trick.

Writing is a miserable, awful business. Stay with it. It is better than anything in the world.

Why is it that we understand playing the cello will require work, but we attribute writing to the magic of inspiration?

I don’t write for an audience, I don’t think whether my book will sell, I don’t sell it before I finish writing it.

If you want to write, practice writing. Practice it for hours a day, not to come up with a story you can publish, but because you long to learn how to write well, because there is something that you alone can say.

Anyone who doesn’t read doesn’t have any business writing.

You learn every time you write a book, and then you take that new knowledge and experience into the next book. Hopefully, every time, you raise the bar.

I’ve been writing the same book my whole life—that you’re in one family, and all of a sudden, you’re in another family, and it’s not your choice, and you can’t get out.


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