Top 10 Quotes About Editing

Inspirational editing quotes that will get your editing juices flowing

A young poet is standing with her book reading editing quotes.
Scribendi.com's editors compile their top
10 favorite editing quotes of all time.

Words of inspiration can come in handy when you’ve got writer’s block, or when you are trying to get your manuscript published. We’ve collected 10 of our favorite quotes on editing. Enjoy!

Top 10 Editing Quotes

1. “Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counselling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, ‘How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?’ and avoid ‘How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?’” - James Thurber

2. “The best advice on writing was given to me by my first editor, Michael Korda, of Simon and Schuster, while writing my first book. ‘Finish your first draft and then we'll talk,’ he said. It took me a long time to realize how good the advice was. Even if you write it wrong, write and finish your first draft. Only then, when you have a flawed whole, do you know what you have to fix.” - Dominick Dunne

3. “Editing might be a bloody trade, but knives aren’t the exclusive property of butchers. Surgeons use them too.” -  Blake Morrison

4. “The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.” - E.B. White

5. “I'm all for the scissors. I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.” - Truman Capote

6. “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” - Arthur Plotnik

7. “No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.” - J. Russell Lynes

8. “I would write a book, or a short story, at least three times—once to understand it, the second time to improve the prose, and a third to compel it to say what it still must say. Somewhere I put it this way: first drafts are for learning what one's fiction wants him to say. Revision works with that knowledge to enlarge and enhance an idea, to reform it. Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing.” - Bernard Malamud

9. “No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.” - H.G. Wells

10. “Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial ‘we’.” - Mark Twain

We hope that you’ve enjoyed these inspirational quotes. For additional help with your writing, try our book editors, who have years of experience helping authors get published.

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