10 Great Quotes from Writers about Life

What is life? The following ten quotes are our pick of the best from various writers. The quotes sum up our attitudes to life – mysterious, depressing, uplifting, and everything else betwixt and between. We hope you enjoy these quotes.

You ask ‘What is life?’ That is the same as asking ‘What is a carrot?’ A carrot is a carrot and we know nothing more. – Anton Chekhov

Live all you can – it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. – Henry James

Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope. – Edith Wharton

Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment. – Samuel Johnson

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. – F. Scott Fitzgerald


In real life, the hardest aspect of the battle between good and evil is determining which is which. – George R. R. Martin

Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage. – Anaïs Nin

To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life. – T. S. Eliot

Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay. – Simone de Beauvoir

Life begins on the other side of despair. – Jean-Paul Sartre

Image: George R. R. Martin speaking at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International, for ‘Game of Thrones’, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California (author: Gage Skidmore); available for reuse.


  1. Simone says it right for me. … It’s like a motto I live by – When afraid, just jump.

  2. Reblogged this on MorgEn Bailey's Writing Blog and commented:
    What’s your favourite literary life quote?

  3. This page truly has all of the information I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

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  5. Reblogged this on Confessions of a fanfiction writer whose dreams are to reach the sky and commented:
    Wonderful post- I especially loved Edith Wharton and George R.R Martin- brilliant choice of quotes and authors!
    Phoenixflames12 x

  6. Wonderful post- I especially loved Edith Wharton and George R.R Martin- brilliant choice of quotes and authors!
    Phoenixflames12 x

  7. Great post! Perked up my day! Thanks!

  8. I enjoyed reading those and will now get on with my carrot.

  9. Oh to have a fraction of this wisdom! Lovely assortment.

  10. Inspiring quotation round-up. Thanks!

  11. My favourite is the Fitzgerald quote. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Reblogged this on 1WriteWay and commented:
    Another interesting post from Interesting Literature: writers’ quotes about life. My favorite is one by T.S. Eliot. It is the way I am trying to live my life now. What is your favorite, dear Reader? Do any of these quotes reflect the way you live your life, or wish you lived your life?

  13. Jean Paul-Satre was such a misery :D
    I like the quote by G R R Martin. It says it all.

  14. Wonderful.

  15. Hi…This is “ileneonwords,” I’ll now follow you from my new blog:

  16. Nice post!

    “Writing is easy. You just sit at the typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

    “I don’t know what I think until I read what I’ve said.” – E.M. Forster

  17. Good ones. Thanks :)

  18. Chekhov has got it spot on!

  19. Pingback: Anais Nin on Life | Spirit in Politics

  20. Awesome. Thanks for the great post!

  21. Wonderful sampling! I love them all!