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One must speak in such a way that although someone else, or many others, or an infinite number of people have said it before, it seems as though you said it first.

The Complete Perfectionist
The greatness of a writer has nothing to do with subject matter itself, only with how much the subject matter touches the author.
Maybe the hardest thing in writing is simply to tell the truth about things as we see them.
No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.

East of Eden
When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America
If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. And here I make a rule — a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last.
I mean, in any case, that when you really feel something, you face the difficulty of expressing it. And that, after all, forms your style.
To say what you want to say, you must create another language and nourish it for years with what you have loved, with what you have lost, with what you will never find again.
Don't ask me who's influenced me. A lion is made up of all the lambs he's digested, and I've been reading all my life.
I am a monotonous and obstinate man who, for twenty years, has not ceased to say the same things over and over again.

Presentation at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, 1963
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."