Harlan Coben Quotes on Writing: The Complete Collection

harlan coben quotes on writing
by CJ McDaniel // February 28 // 0 Comments

Mystery novels and thrillers are Harlan Coben’s forte, so it’s no surprise how he managed to author thirty-three novels as of the moment. Many of his thrillers hit the bestseller status, even becoming TV adaptations because of their undeniably compelling storyline. Looking at his achievements in the field of literature and behind the screen, it’s safe to say that Harlan Coben quotes on writing and other categories will benefit present and future generations.

Born on the 4th of January 1962 in Newark, New Jersey, international best-selling writer Harlan Coben first found his passion for writing during his senior years at college. From standalone to series, it’s evident in the books he wrote that he prefers suspense, mystery, and thriller themes. By 2001, his suspense thriller, Tell No One, reached the bestselling status, even receiving nominations for Anthony Award, the Barry Award, and Edgar Award. Apart from that, his passion and brilliance in the field earned him other awards such as the prestigious Vermeil Medal of Honor in Paris, El Premio del Novela Negra RBA in Spain, and the CWA/ITV3 Bestseller Dagger for favorite crime novelist in England.

Coben’s success doesn’t end with his novels and short stories. He was also the creator and executive producer for various Netflix television dramas such as Stay Close, The Stranger, Safe, The Five, and The Woods. Harlan Coben is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated writers in contemporary American fiction—his achievements reflect his dedication to his craft. Therefore, expert and budding writers will benefit from Harlan Coben quotes on writing and his other words of wisdom, whether it’s about literature or life.

Harlan Coben Quotes About Writing

Harlan Coben has printed 75 million books worldwide to date, making him one of the world’s leading storytellers and bestselling authors. Moreover, his books are available in 45 languages, proving his excellence in his craft and how his mystery and thriller novels appeal to everyone. With this amount of achievements, it’s natural for many to look for quotes related to writing made by award-winning author Harlan Coben.

Here’s a collection of Coben quotes about writing.

Frankly I’m fairly boring or fairly busy. Between writing and family, I have little time for anything else.

Harlan Coben

I like to go out and write. So I’ll often go to a Starbucks or a local coffee bar, and I’ll sit there and I’ll write. I can write pretty much anywhere.

Harlan Coben

I love stories. When I’m writing, what I pretend subconsciously is that we’re cavemen, we’re sitting around the fire, and I’m telling you stories. If I bore you, you’re probably going to pick up a big club and hit me over the head.

Harlan Coben

I would never write a memoir, because it would be too boring.

Harlan Coben

I wrote seven Myron Bolitar novels in a row, and I never want to write a Myron book where he just solves a crime. Every one of them I want to be personal, and I want him to grow and change. The problem with that is, it makes the series limited, you can’t write a series where a guy is always going through some kind of crisis.

Harlan Coben

I’m not very happy idle. There’s always this voice in my head that says, ‘I should be writing.

Harlan Coben

Let me back up a little and tell you why I prefer writing to real life: You can rewrite. A novel, for example, can be cleaned up, altered, trimmed, improved. Life, on the other hand, is one big messy rough draft.

Harlan Coben

My house has too many distractions. There’s the email. There’s checking my Amazon ranking. I know I’m the only author who’s ever done that, ever. There’s the fax. Too many distractions. I like to go out and write.

Harlan Coben

Reminder to writers who think their book sucks: This is normal — push through it. Insecurity is part of the process. Only bad writers think they’re good.

Harlan Coben

Sometimes even when the book is over I don’t know who’s good and who’s bad. Its really more interesting, I think, to write about gray characters than it is to write about black and white.

Harlan Coben

The actual writing time is a lot shorter than the thinking time. I don’t do too many notes. I keep it mostly in my head. I usually start writing a new book around January, and it’s due October 1.

Harlan Coben

The most annoying and full- of- crap thing a writer says is, I write only for myself, I don’t care if anyone reads it. A writer without a reader doesn’t exist.

Harlan Coben

The readers are the ones who let us live our dreams. I try to write books which are really compelling – that you’d take on vacation and rather than going out, you’d read in your hotel room because you had to find out what happened. Hopefully that’s what readers are responding to.

Harlan Coben

What I love about the thriller form is that it makes you write a story. You can’t get lost in your own genius, which is a dangerous place for writers. You don’t want to ever get complacent. If a book starts going too well, I usually know there’s a problem. I need to struggle. I need that self-doubt. I need to think it’s not the best thing ever.

Harlan Coben

What I want to do is tell stories about normal people in the American suburbs. I don’t write the book where it’s a conspiracy reaching the prime minister; I don’t write the book with the big serial killer who lops off heads. My setting is a very placid pool of suburbia, family life. And within that I can make pretty big splashes.

Harlan Coben

Writing a novel in general is like trying to reach a mountain top you’ll never quite reach – so you try again and maybe get a little closer.

Harlan Coben

Writing my first book, I think in hindsight I went into it saying, ‘It’s gonna sell.’ I was earning enough to scrape by sometime around a book or two before ‘Tell No One.’ I moved up from $50,000 to $75,000, then $150,000 for each book. I had never thought I would be doing anything else. I had enough encouragement.

Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben Quotes On Writing For Writers

Coben’s brilliance in writing was never left unnoticed. For example, he received awards, including three prestigious ones: the Anthony Award, Shamus Award, and Edgar Award. The awards he obtained were not only from the US; a variety of honors also came from other parts of the world. He earned admiration from his fans and fellow writers, professional and aspiring.

If you’re a writer who wants to follow Coben’s steps to success, the following quotes on writing are for you.

I always think the insecurity is going to go away, but it’s always there. Only bad writers think they’re good.

Harlan Coben

I never bought the excuse of not having time to write. If you really want to do it, you’re either going to find those hours or eventually decide not to be a writer.

Harlan Coben

If I’m not writing well, I’m not happy. If I’m not spending enough time with my family, I’m not happy. If I’m not connecting to friends or if I don’t work out enough… You get the point. Everything has to be balanced. Nothing should be an extreme.

Harlan Coben

The readers are the ones who let us live our dreams. I try to write books which are really compelling — that you’d take on vacation and rather than going out, you’d read in your hotel room because you had to find out what happened. Hopefully, that’s what readers are responding to.

Harlan Coben

Writers always say, ‘I always knew I wanted to be a writer; when I was a three-month-old fetus a pen formed in my hand and I began to scratch my first story on the inside of my mother’s womb.’ I started later, in my early twenties.

Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben Quotes About Books

Coben’s mystery, suspense, and occasionally grim books draw his avid fans’ attention almost in an instant. However, many others suddenly find themselves stumbling upon his work and loving them at first sight. Just like them, Coben enjoys reading books that fall under the genre he specializes in, especially about loss and redemption. His book recommendations and quotes about books will mark a spot in your heart!

Now that we’re on it—check out this compilation of Cobens’ quotes about books!

I still try to make the “next” book my “best” book. I want to grip and move you in unexpected ways.

Harlan Coben

If I had, say, a tall, amateur male lead living on the campus of a rural college (Six Years), the next book might feature a short, cop who lives in the heart of Manhattan (Missing You).

Harlan Coben

The book I always say that influenced me, subconsciously, because at the time I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer, was William Goldman’s ‘Marathon Man.’ That was the first adult thriller that I loved. I read it when I was 15 or so, when my father gave it to me.

Harlan Coben

The readers are the ones who let us live our dreams. I try to write books which are really compelling – that you’d take on vacation and rather than going out, you’d read in your hotel room because you had to find out what happened. Hopefully that’s what readers are responding to.

Harlan Coben

William Goldman’s Marathon Man was a novel that taught me about suspense. I was maybe 16 years old when I read it and I remember thinking, “You could put a gun to my head and I wouldn’t put this book down.” I loved that feeling – and want to give it others.

Harlan Coben

Bestselling and award-winning writer Harlan Coben’s journey to success wasn’t easy but were worth it, seeing how far he has reached. With millions of books sold, it’s unsurprising how his excellence influenced many writers worldwide. Furthermore, his impact doesn’t end with his written works—his quotes on writing also serve as an inspiration for many authors, whether they’re starters or experienced in the field.

Need more inspiration on writing other than these quotes of Harlan Coben? Check out our collection of quotes on writing from other authors here.

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!