Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Great Quotes About Writing from John Green

New York Times Bestselling novelist John Green has a lot to say about may things. From interviews, YouTube videos, twitter, etc., here is a list of quotes to inspire writers:
1. On writing The Fault in Our Stars: “I would go into Starbucks every morning at 7:30, open up my computer, and begin to weep.”  -from an interview on Colbert Report 

2. Advice to aspiring writers: “Every single day, I get emails from aspiring writers asking my advice about how to become a writer, and here is the only advice I can give: Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.” -from this Volgbrothers video

3. More Advice to people who want to become writers: “My advice for the process learning to write well is, first, to read a lot. I think that’s the only apprenticeship we have as writers. That’s the only access we have to the way that stories have been worked on paper… My second piece of advice is to tell stories to your friend and pay attention to when they get board.” -from an interview with Ohio State "Writers Talk"

4. On what inspires him as a writer: “I think a lot of it was the books that I read and wanting to be a part of that conversation in a different way, not just as a reader, but also as a writer. I was inspired by every book that I ever read—weather I liked it or not—because they all have a cumulative effect.”-from John Green answers your questions at Worthington Libraries  

5. On eBooks vs. paper books: “I don’t really care how people read; I care if they read.”-from this Vlogbrothers video 

6. On books belonging to their readers: “The real business of books is not done by awards committees, or people who turn trees into paper, or editors, or agents, or even writers. We're all just facilitators. The real business is done by readers, and the Looking for Alaska that you read is not quite like the Looking for Alaska that anyone else reads.” -from this Vlogbrothers video

7. On fiction vs. reality: ”Just because it’s fictional, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.” -from this AFC Wimbly Womblys video

8. On abandoning books-in-progress: “Sometimes I don’t finish the book–or at least not for a long time. That’s always a bit depressing, but I don’t think it’s wasted time–even if you end up not finishing the story. You were learning something as a writer that you needed to learn. The difficult thing is figuring out when a story really SHOULD be abandoned, and when it’s just the mid-story blues–which I think happens to every book.” -from John Green’s Website 

9. On writing characters who are different from yourself: “All fiction is an attempt at empathy: When I write, I’m trying to imagine what it’s like to be someone else more than I’m trying to express what it’s like to be me. So in that sense, it’s very helpful for me to write from the perspectives of characters who are at least a little different from me.” -from John Green’s Website 

I'm sure there are plenty more. Add your favorite John Green quotes in the comments. 


  1. Great quotes! Very inspiring. :-)

  2. Thanks for sharing, Emily! I'm especially resonating with this quote, “I don’t really care how people read; I care if they read.” That's a great response to the hardcopy vs. ebook debate. Writers just need their words read.

    I'm woefully behind on 'The Fault In Our Stars' trend. Maybe I should give it a read :)