14 William Faulkner Quotes for Writers and About Writing

Here are 14 William Faulkner quotes for writers and about writing from the author of As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and The Sound and the Fury. In these quotes, Faulkner covers writing, reading, dreaming, and more.


William Faulkner is one of my all-time favorite writers, whether we’re talking about his novels like The Sound and the Fury or his short stories like “A Rose for Emily.” My favorite Faulkner is As I Lay Dying, which includes the line (and complete chapter) that reads, “My mother is a fish.”

(Click here to see which books make the cut for my personal Marie Kondo 30 book challenge.)

In addition to his prose, Faulkner wrote screenplays and poetry. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949 and twice won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1955, 1963) and National Book Award (1951, 1955).

Here are 14 William Faulkner quotes for writers and about writing.


14 William Faulkner quotes for writers and about writing

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.”

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

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“Perhaps they were right putting love into books. Perhaps it could not live anywhere else.”

“Women know more about words than men ever will. And they know how little they can ever possibly mean.”

“Don’t be ‘a writer.’ Be writing.”

“Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.”

“If a story is in you, it has to come out.”

“Pouring out liquor is like burning books.”

“The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.”

“A writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.”

“A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station…”

“The best fiction is far more true than any journalism.”

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything good.”