Saturday, September 07, 2013

Quote File: Time

Reading and Writing

  • "The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.” — Junot Diaz 
  • "If I am a prolific writer and turn my hand, with what seems to some as indecent haste, from novels to screenplays to stage and radio plays, it is because there is so much to be said, so few of us to say it, and time runs out." — Fay Weldon
  • "It makes me unhappy when certain things change or things are superceded... my nine year old daughter's personality... Card catalogues... Jiffy Pop right now feels imperiled... I want to stop time and get things down on paper before they've flown off like a flock of starlings." — Nicholson Baker
  • “One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.” — Carl Sagan
  • "The main effort of arranging your life should be to progressively reduce the amount of time required to decently maintain yourself so that you can have all the time you want for reading." — Norman Rush
  • “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” — Confucius
  • “The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” -- Flannery O'Connor  
  • “Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time.... The wait is simply too long.” — Leonard Bernstein
  • “To fully understand a grand and beautiful thought requires, perhaps, as much time as to conceive it." — Joseph Joubert 
  • “A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.” — Annie Dillard
  • “To many people artists seem / undisciplined and lawless. / Such laziness, with such great gifts, / seems little short of crime. / One mystery is how they make / the things they make so flawless; / another, what they're doing with / their energy and time.” — Piet Hein 
  • "Take the time to write. You can do your life's work in half an hour a day." — Robert Hass


  • “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” — Jack London
  • “A man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of life getting his living.” — Henry David Thoreau 
  • “I get up every morning determined both to change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning the day difficult." — E. B. White
  • “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.” — Steve Jobs 
  • "Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful, lest you let others spend it for you." — Carl Sandburg
  • “Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time. — Viktor Frankl
  • “Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” — Auguste Rodin 
  • “It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen.” — Jerome K. Jerome
  • “Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.” — Thomas Szasz
  • “We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.” — Charles Baudelaire   
  • “We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” — Paul Bowles
  • “Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.” — W.E.B. Du Bois


  • “Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • “Our perception that we have ‘no time’ is one of the distinctive marks of modern Western culture." — Margaret Visser
  • “I wish I could have known earlier that you have all the time you'll need right up to the day you die.” — William Wiley
  • “Here lies, extinguished in his prime, / a victim of modernity: / but yesterday he hadn't time— / and now he has eternity.” — Piet Hein 
  • "To achieve great things, two things are needed:  a plan and not quite enough time." — Leonard Bernstein 


  • “All of us have moments in our childhood where we come alive for the first time. And we go back to those moments and think, This is when I became myself.” — Rita Dove
  • “You don't have to specialize — do everything that you love and then, at some time, the future will come together for you in some form.” — Francis Ford Coppola
  • “There comes a time in a man's life when to get where he has to — if there are no doors or windows — he walks through a wall.” — Bernard Malamud
  • “In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” — Albert Schweitzer


  • "Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils." — Hector Berlioz
  • “In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” — Eric Hoffer
  • “If you're behind the times, they won't notice you. If you're right in tune with them, you're no better than they are, so they won't care much for you. Be just a little ahead of them.” — Shel Silverstein
  • “Time heals old wounds only because there are new wounds to attend to.” — Yahia Lababdidi
  • “A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.” — Samuel Johnson
  • “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.” — Abigail Van Buren
  • “Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” — Stephen Swid
  • “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time. And that's sufficient.” — Rose King


  1. I LOVE quotes, and these were excellent.

    I, too, follow Annie Dillard :)

    Thanks, Cheryl!

  2. Wonderful collection of quotes. Thanks!

  3. Love these quotes. Will you be opening up to unsolicited manuscripts again any time soon? I saw an old post where you did that last year.

  4. This is what I needed today; thanks for putting it out where I could find it.