Shakespeare Quotes on Writing: The Complete Collection

shakespeare quotes on writing
by CJ McDaniel // March 9 // 0 Comments

William Shakespeare’s reputation and legacy continue to resonate through the centuries. He’s undeniably the most famous playwright in the world, considered by many as the most exceptional dramatist of all time. His enduring works prove the universal appeal he possesses as a writer—that present and future generations will find them relevant despite having written many years ago. Many readers and writers think highly of William Shakespeare, that his quotes on writing share the same popularity as his written pieces.

English poet, actor, and playwright William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, on April 1564. The prolific writer wrote over 30 plays, two narrative poems, and 154 sonnets, some of which were histories, comedies, or tragedies. His famous works include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth. What made his plays timeless was the themes he used which are still relevant today. His storytelling was also imaginatively stimulating: his audiences often find themselves facing the same experiences his characters underwent.

‘Til this day, no writer can compare Shakespeare’s impact and contribution to literature. Even if the world constantly changes, his plays and characters endure and transcend time. Hence, many of us relate to his characters, no matter how long they’ve existed. His success and works of art also taught many writers and readers that there’s no limit to creativity and imagination. A literary icon, that’s for sure!

Indeed, there are still a lot of things to learn about Shakespeare. William Shakespeare’s quotes on writing are a good start for any reader or writer, aspiring or professionals alike.

William Shakespeare Quotes About Writing

Centuries have passed, and Shakespeare’s name still resonates in the world today. It’s understandable why, seeing how the current generation still relates to the themes he used on his blockbuster plays, poetry, and book of sonnets. His highly inventive use of English, the relatability of characters, and writing style were undoubtedly unique gifts in the literary world.

If there’s anyone to search for when it comes to writing, William Shakespeare’s name will never leave the list. Moreover, the list below focuses on Shakespeare’s quotes about writing, much needed by readers and writers alike.

If I could write the beauty of your eyes And in fresh numbers number all your graces, The age to come would say, ‘This poet lies; Such heavenly touches ne’er touch’d earthly faces.’

William Shakespeare

Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water.

William Shakespeare

To be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.

William Shakespeare

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.

William Shakespeare

People’s good deeds we write in water. The evil deeds are etched in brass.

William Shakespeare

No matter where; of comfort no man speak: Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs; Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth

William Shakespeare

Write till your ink be dry, and with your tears
Moist it again, and frame some feeling line
That may discover such integrity.

William Shakespeare

Never durst poet touch a pen to write Until his ink were temper’d with Love’s sighs.

William Shakespeare

O, how I faint when I of you do write, Knowing a better spirit doth use your name, And in the praise thereof spends all his might To make me tongue-tied speaking of your fame.

William Shakespeare

I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair, and labour’d much
How to forget that learning; but, sir, now
It did me yeoman’s service.

William Shakespeare

Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief; it is no matter how witty, so it be eloquent and fun of invention: taunt him with the licence of ink: if thou thou’st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss; and as many lies as will lie in thy shee.

William Shakespeare

Make me a willow cabin at your gate, And call upon my soul within the house; Write loyal cantons of contemned love And sing them loud even in the dead of night.

William Shakespeare

Don Pedro – (…)’In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.’ Benedick – The savage bull may, but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull’s horns and set them in my forehead, and let me be vildly painted; and in such great letters as they writes, ‘Here is good horse for hire’, let them signify under my sign, ‘Here you may see Benedick the married man.

William Shakespeare

He capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holiday, he smells April and May.

William Shakespeare

Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs; Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth…. [W]hat can we bequeath, Save our deposed bodies to the ground?… [N]othing can we call our own, but death… [L]et us sit upon the ground, And tell sad stories of the death of kings: – How some have been depos’d, some slain in war; Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos’d.

William Shakespeare

Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter.

William Shakespeare

Will Fortune never come with both hands full,
But write her fair words still in foulest terms?

William Shakespeare

He writes brave verses, speaks brave words, swears brave oaths, and breaks them bravely.

William Shakespeare

Why should I write this down, that’s riveted,
Screw’d to my memory?

William Shakespeare

O’ let me, true in love, but truly write,
And then believe me, my love is as fair
As any mother’s child, though not so bright
As those gold candles fix’d in heaven’s air:

William Shakespeare

O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;

William Shakespeare

I think good thoughts whilst others write good words.

William Shakespeare

Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud
The eating canker dwells, so eating love
Inhabits in the finest wits of all.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare Inspirational Quotes For Writers

Known as a great actor, poet, and writer, Shakespeare’s impact on literary history remains unrivaled. Thus, most writers find themselves inspired not only by his works but his words too. Many writers found Shakespeare’s quotes comforting and motivating, especially when they ran out of ideas or faced a slump.

Are you an aspiring or professional writer in dire need of inspiration? Here’s a collection of Shakespeare’s inspirational quotes on writing for writers.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

William Shakespeare

Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.

William Shakespeare

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

William Shakespeare

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

William Shakespeare

The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

William Shakespeare

It is a tale…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

William Shakespeare

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.

William Shakespeare

Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.

William Shakespeare

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.

William Shakespeare

The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.

William Shakespeare

This above all: to thine own self be true.

William Shakespeare

No legacy is so rich as honesty.

William Shakespeare

Have more than you show, speak less than you know.

William Shakespeare

Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find.

William Shakespeare

If to do were as easy to know what were good to do.

William Shakespeare

Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.

William Shakespeare

Be great in act, as you have been in thought.

William Shakespeare

Make not your thoughts your prisons.

William Shakespeare

My crown is called content, a crown that seldom kings enjoy.

William Shakespeare

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

William Shakespeare

Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.

William Shakespeare

To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.

William Shakespeare

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.

William Shakespeare

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.

William Shakespeare

Hear the meaning within the word.

William Shakespeare

Make use of time, let not advantage slip.

William Shakespeare

Things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear.

William Shakespeare

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.

William Shakespeare

The miserable have no other medicine But only hope.

William Shakespeare

Take all the swift advantage of the hours.

William Shakespeare

When our actions do not, our fears make us traitors.

William Shakespeare

Courage and comfort, all shall yet go well

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare Quotes About Books

Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright but never a novelist. However, that wasn’t an issue with the next series of quotes. Even before he had a significant part in literary history, he was able to speak about books. He played with words to include them in his plays, poems, or sonnets. Check out the list below to find Shakespeare’s quotes about books.

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

William Shakespeare

A beggar’s book outworths a noble’s blood.

William Shakespeare

I can see he’s not in your good books,’ said the messenger. ‘No, and if he were I would burn my library.

William Shakespeare

Your face is a book, where men may read strange matters.

William Shakespeare

I’ll note you in my book of memory.

William Shakespeare

Knowing I lov’d my books, he furnish’d me From mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom.

William Shakespeare

Love’s stories written in love’s richest books. To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes.

William Shakespeare

From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive: They sparkle still the right Promethean fire; They are the books, the arts, the academes, That show, contain and nourish all the world.

William Shakespeare

I have unclasp’d to thee the book even of my secret soul.

William Shakespeare

O heaven! that one might read the book of fate, and see the revolution of the times.

William Shakespeare

Love goes toward love as schoolboys from their books, But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.

William Shakespeare

In nature’s infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read.

William Shakespeare

Within the book and volume of thy brain.

William Shakespeare

Keep thy foot out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen from lender’s books, and defy the foul fiend.

William Shakespeare

Bell, book and candle shall not drive me back, When gold and silver becks me to come on.

William Shakespeare

A book? O, rare one,
Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment
Nobler than that it covers.

William Shakespeare

I’ll read enough
When I do see the very book indeed
Where all my sins are writ, and that’s myself.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare Quotes About Time

It’s a known fact that William Shakespeare’s works revolved around various themes in life that many people find relatable up to this day. Among these includes statements about time, many of which people quote every so often. Others may not even notice that they’re mentioning words from the great Shakespeare!

The selection below provides his quotes about time, much of which you’ll enjoy reading.

Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.

William Shakespeare

We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.

William Shakespeare

Time and the hour run through the roughest day.

William Shakespeare

Let every man be master of his time.

William Shakespeare

Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done is done.

William Shakespeare

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.

William Shakespeare

What is past is prologue.

William Shakespeare

We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.

William Shakespeare

In time we hate that which we often fear.

William Shakespeare

There’s a time for all things.

William Shakespeare

So many hours must I take my rest;
So many hours must I contemplate.

William Shakespeare

Make use of time, let not advantage slip;
Beauty within itself should not be wasted:
Fair flowers that are not gather’d in their prime
Rot and consume themselves in little time.

William Shakespeare

Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are written down old with all the characters of age?

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s relevance in English literature remains unmatched even after centuries. Apart from the universal themes he used, such as love, betrayal, life, and death, he was clever with the words and images he utilized. Despite the world’s fast-changing nature, his works live with William Shakespeare quotes on writing never left behind.

Need more inspiration on writing other than these quotes of William Shakespeare? 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!