Today, we learned of the passing of renowned author E.L. Doctorow. According to his son, the cause of his death was complications due to lung cancer.
The author is probably known best for Ragtime, which made it to the Modern Library’s list of 100 best novels of all time.
With his passing, we pay tribute to one of the most brilliant novelists of our time by learning from him. Of course, we can always put his books next on our reading lists, but for starters, here are some of the best E.L. Doctorow quotes that will make you think and inspire you as a writer.
Best E.L. Doctorow Quotes
- Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
- Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.
- The writer isn’t made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses. The reason we need writers is because we need witnesses to this terrifying century.
- Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
- A novelist is a person who lives in other people’s skins.
- When I’m writing, I like to seal everything off and face the wall, not to look outside the window. The only way out is through the sentences.
- I began to ask two questions while I was reading a book that excited me: not only what was going to happen next, but how is this done? How is it that these words on the page make me feel the way I’m feeling? This is the line of inquiry that I think happens in a child’s mind, without him even knowing he has aspirations as a writer.
- Happiness consists of living in the dailiness of life and not knowing how happy you are. True happiness comes of not knowing you’re happy.
- I get intrigued by a first line and I write to find out why it means something to me. You make discoveries just the way the reader does, so you’re simultaneously the writer and the reader.
- The important thing is not to be too comfortable when you’re writing. Noise in the street? That’s good. The computer goes down? That’s good. All these things are good. It has to be a little bit of a struggle.
Which of these quotes do you relate to the most? Which ones make you think about what you do?