What are some inspirational quotes that will help screenwriters persevere through the long grind of a screenwriting journey?
Sometimes screenwriting advice on how, where, when, and why to write screenplays just isn’t enough. In fact, sometimes all of those tips, secrets, tricks, habits, and suggestions are too much — especially when a screenwriter is struggling.
Every screenwriter gets to the point where they ask themselves difficult questions.
“Is it worth it?”
“Why is it taking so long?”
“Maybe it’s time to quit?”
When advice and screenwriting education can’t help, sometimes it’s just a few wise words that can reset the battery and energize the heart, soul, and mind.
Here are 50 quotes about perseverance, persistence, and the undying pursuit of your dreams. No explanation. No elaboration. Just something we hope resonates with anyone in need of a resurgence.
1. “Writing is both a pleasure and a struggle. There are times when it’s really aversive and unpleasant, and there are times when it’s wonderful and fun and magical, but that’s not the point. Writing is my job. I’m not a believer of waiting for the muse. You don’t put yourself in the mood to go to your nine-to-five job, you just go. I start in the morning and write all day. Successful writers don’t wait for the muse to fill themselves unless they’re geniuses. I’m not a genius. I’m smart, I have some talent, and I have a lot of stubbornness. I persevere. I was by no means the best writer in my class in college. I’m just the one still writing.” — Akiva Goldsman
2. “Do not simplify. Do not worry about failure. Failure is a badge of honor. It means you risked failure.” — Charlie Kaufman
3. “I devoted myself to writing for years without representation or a promise of anything. And there were times when I felt quite down about my prospects.” — Geoffrey Fletcher (He later won an Oscar Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire)
4. “You’re going to fail so many times. Just fail better. You’re going to mess up. You have to. And you’re going to do work that is problematic politically and personally and work that is devoid of spiritual engagement, and your job is to keep trying to find your place in that work every time.” — Tarell Alvin McCraney (Oscar-winner for Moonlight)
5. “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” — Octavia E. Butler
6. “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” — Richard Bach
7. “I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it.” — Chinua Achebe
8. “Do not be told something is impossible. There is always a way.” — Robert Rodriguez
9. “My three Ps: passion, patience, perseverance.” — Robert Wise
10. “There’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you’re on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.” — Margaret Atwood
11. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston S. Churchill
12. “The best way out is always through.” — Robert Frost
13. “Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.” — Roy T. Bennett
14. “Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.” — Roy T. Bennett
15. “You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” — Tom Hiddleston
16. “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” — Calvin Coolidge
17. “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” — Hal Borland
18. “Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” — James A. Michener
19. “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.” — Octavia Butler
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20. “Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.” — Cormac McCarthy
21. “Thankfully, perseverance is a good substitute for talent.” — Steve Martin
22. “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” — Maya Angelou
23. “History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” — B.C. Forbes
24. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” — Nelson Mandela
25. “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” — Albert Einstein
26. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
27. “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” — Walt Disney
28. “Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.” — Abraham Lincoln
29. “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” — Gloria Steinem
30. “When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.” — John Steinbeck
31. “We are made to persist. that’s how we find out who we are.” — Tobias Wolff
32. “Survival can be summed up in three words — never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.” — Bear Grylls
33. “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” — Julie Andrews
34. “It’s hard to bet a person who never gives up.” — Babe Ruth
35. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” — Vince Lombardi
36. “You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.” — Chuck Yeager
37. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” — Thomas Edison
38. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” — Confucius
39. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” — Henry Ford
40. “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” — Japanese Proverb
41. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas Edison
42. “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” — Theodore Roosevelt
43. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
44. “You have many years ahead of you to create the dreams that we can’t even imagine dreaming.” — Steven Spielberg
45. “If you’re really a good writer and deserve that honored position, then by God, you’ll write, and you’ll be read, and you’ll be produced somehow. It just works that way.” — Rod Serling
46. “Defeat is a state of mind. No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality.” — Bruce Lee
47. “Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” — Barack Obama
48. “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.” — John Quincy Adams
49. “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” — Billie Jean King
50. “You have to fail before you can prevail.” — Ken Miyamoto
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Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.
He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies