Top 11 Jewish Quotes for Writers: What Kept Me Writing My Novel, “A Remarkable Kindness”

This post appeared on the Jewish Book Council website and I wanted to share it for all of you who are looking for some inspiring words about writing our best chapter–and living it. I turned to these quotes while writing A Remarkable Kindness. Actually, I turned to these quotes when I was not writing the novel…when I felt stuck. Here it is:

I treat my office like a high school hallway. All over my walls are inspirational quotes to keep me going. Writing is a lonely task: it’s being the Sisyphus of sentences. Every now and then, I pretend to invite imaginary cheerleaders (including my best friend’s daughter) to my office before I sit down to write, with them cheering, “You can do it! Go… WRITE!”

What follows are the top thirteen inspirational Jewish quotes I turn to when I feel like I’ve fallen down that deep, dark chute of writing nothingness.

“In knowing who you are and writing from it, you will help the world by giving it understanding.” — Natalie Goldberg

“Surprising things can happen when you start to pray…” — Jacqueline Osherow

“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, Grow, grow.” — The Talmud

“Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand.” — Baruch Spinoza

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein

“Two strides across, the rest is dark…Life is a fleeting question mark…” — Hannah Senesh

“You become a writer because you need to become a writer. Nothing else.” — Grace Paley

“Take your life into your own hands…” — Erica Jong

“Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.” — Golda Meir

“Had I not fallen, I would not have arisen. Had I not been subject to darkness, I could not have seen the light.” — Midrash

“If we survived Pharoah, we’ll survive this.” — Meir Arieli

What’s the message? We can–we must–live our own lives as best as we can. The writing blooms the more we live.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
This entry was posted in A Remarkable Kindness, inspiration, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Top 11 Jewish Quotes for Writers: What Kept Me Writing My Novel, “A Remarkable Kindness”

  1. Tom Scott says:


    Jenny enjoys your words of encouragement. She is very disciplined with her writing and is also encouraged by the writers group she attends.

    We look forward to your November visit.

    Go Cubs!


    Tom Scott District Mgr Legrand 630/864-1669

    Sent from my iPad


    • dianabletter says:

      Tom, thank you! Glad to hear that what helps me helps others. See you in November–go Cubs, but do you accept Yankee fans?!?

  2. Thanks for sharing your uplifting quotes, Diana. We all need inspiration. Blessings, Tracy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s