William Goldman Quotes on Writing: The Complete Collection

william goldman quotes on writing
by CJ McDaniel // June 6 // 0 Comments

If one has to venture into screenwriting, it’s impossible not to encounter William Goldman’s name or screenplays. The Academy Award-winning screenwriter, playwright, and novelist excelled in writing dialogues, so it’s no surprise how he became a writing legend looked up to by the generation of writers today. Moreover, William Goldman offered valuable advice to writers, editors, publishers, and readers through his works—others involving his quotes about writing.

American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter William Goldman was born in Highland Park, Illinois, United States. William had a turbulent childhood, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing a creative path. He got a chance to become an editor for Oberlin College’s literary magazine, completing his master’s degree in English at Columbia University. Although offered a teaching position at a high school, Goldman held onto his determination to devote himself to writing. Eventually, he launched his writing career with his first novel, The Temple of Gold.

Witty comedies, dramas, memoirs, and novels—William Goldman has proved his brilliance in writing through these forms. His most influential screenplays were “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “All the President’s Men,” which gave him two Academy Awards. Truthfully, one cannot deny how he inspired generations of writers—his legacy to endure for decades to come. Moreover, the literary genius, William Goldman, provided a treasure of literary works and words of wisdom, such as his quotes about writing and other aspects of his craft.

William Goldman Quotes About Writing

William has an incredible ability to mesmerize the world, incorporating his creativity in his literary works. He did not limit himself to one field as he ventured to write dramas, novels, and even nonfiction. Moreover, he puts his audience’s interest in mind by avoiding unnecessary twists or complexities in his scripts. This effort has won many readers and writers who appreciate and admire his style and writings, even following his footprints in writing.

If you need inspiration, these William Goldman quotes about writing are something you’ll enjoy!

Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound.

William Goldman

You have to protect your writing time. You have to protect it to the death.

William Goldman

I write out of revenge.

William Goldman

One of the easiest things in the world is not to write… If it were easy, everyone would do it.

William Goldman

The easiest thing to do on earth is not write…But this is life on earth, you can’t have everything.

William Goldman

Any experience is profitable if you allow it to be, all actions are profitable, no matter how badly you may suffer from them.

William Goldman

The writing is never what takes the most time. It’s trying to figure what you’re going to put down that fills the days. With anger at your own ineptitude, with frustration that nothing is happening inside your head, with panic that maybe nothing will ever happen inside your head, with blessed little moments that somehow knit together so that you can begin to visualize a scene.

William Goldman

I don’t think most people realize—and there’s no reason they should—the amount of demeaning garbage you have to take if you want a career in the arts.

William Goldman

If you write movies, you never know who the enemy is. Someone is going to fuck you, that’s a given.

William Goldman

There is one crucial rule that must be followed in all creative meetings. Never speak first. At least at the start, your job is to shut up.

William Goldman

Goldman’s Quotes About Books

Before becoming an inspiration for many writers, William Goldman drew inspiration from books he read. Books laid the foundation for his creativity, considering how he enjoyed reading when he was a kid. If there’s anything you’d like to know more about his view on books, William Goldman’s quotes collection below will come in handy.

When I was your age, television was called books.

William Goldman

He held up a book then. “I’m going to read it to you for relax.” “Does it have any sports in it?” “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True Love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest Ladies. Snakes. Spiders… Pain. Death. Brave men. Cowardly men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.” “Sounds okay,” I said and I kind of closed my eyes.

William Goldman

When was the last time you read a book? The truth now. And picture books don’t count-I mean something with print in it.

William Goldman

And that’s when she put her book down. And looked at me. And said it: “Life isn’t fair, Bill. we tell our children that it is, but it’s a terrible thing to do. It’s not only a lie, it’s a cruel lie. Life is not fair, and it never has been, and it’s never going to be.

William Goldman

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.

William Goldman

Look. (Grown-ups skip this paragraph) I’m not about to tell you this book has a tragic ending. I already said in the very first line how it was my favorite in all the world. But there’s a lot of bad stuff coming.

William Goldman

It’s one of my biggest memories of my father reading. I had pneumonia, remember, but I was a little better now, and madly caught up in the book, and one thing you know when you’re ten is that, no matter what, there’s gonna be a happy ending. They can sweat all they want to scare you, the authors, but back of it all you know, you just have no doubt, that in the long run justice is going to win out.

William Goldman

The Princess Bride S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure You had to admire a guy who called his own new book a classic before it was published and anyone had a chance to read it.

William Goldman

One way an author dies a little each day is when his books go out of print.

William Goldman

William Goldman Quotes About Writers

William Goldman’s career lasted for over fifty years, so it’s unsurprising how he has quotes about writers. He penned fiction, non-fiction, and screenplays, so writers could relate to what he had to say about the field. He also understands the problems one can face in writing, including other aspects of this craft. Hence, if you’re feeling lost or unheard as a writer, read this list of William Goldman quotes about writers, and you’ll find a friend in him.

A good writer is not someone who knows how to write- but how to rewrite.

William Goldman

I write to balance the teeter-totter of my childhood. Graham Greene once said one of the great things: an unhappy childhood is a writer’s goldmine.

William Goldman

It’s an accepted fact that all writers are crazy; even the normal ones are weird.

William Goldman

I never saw a screenplay until I was 33 years old. If you’re a young screenwriter now, you can only write what you give a shit about.

William Goldman

The writers that write Westerns are in the business of perpetuating myths that are false to begin with. Most of the movie was made up. I used certain facts. Other than that, it’s all bits and pieces. All made up.

William Goldman

William Goldman Quotes About Life

The literary legend’s journey, however, wasn’t always easy. Goldman, like everyone else, came upon stressful moments in his life. Despite these negative situations, he served as a reminder that there’s always room to pursue your passion. Although life in the quotes below may seem unbearable, remembering Goldman’s story of success proves you’ll always find good in the bad.

Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.

William Goldman

Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.

William Goldman

And that’s when she put her book down. And looked at me. And said it: “Life isn’t fair, Bill. we tell our children that it is, but it’s a terrible thing to do. It’s not only a lie, it’s a cruel lie. Life is not fair, and it never has been, and it’s never going to be.”

William Goldman

William Goldman’s career lasted for over fifty years, in which he delivered a handful of the most beloved screenplays of all time. True enough, the novelist and award-winning screenwriter was a writing legend whose legacy will remain for long. Furthermore, his works and words of wisdom, like his quotes about writing, will constantly appear valuable to screenwriters, whether they’re a starter or experienced in the field.

Need more inspiration on writing other than William Goldman’s quotes? Check out more 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!