10 Literary Quotes to Encourage and Inspire

Updated on May 11, 2019
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Heather Ann is born and raised in New Jersey. She has a degree in Liberal Arts and holds a deep love and passion for the written word.

Most of us have favorite quotes, whether it be from books, movies, songs, or anywhere else that you can find inspiration. Being a writer, I look to literary quotes a lot, both from author’s or their books as it’s a world I’m immersed in (that doesn’t mean I don’t get inspiration from elsewhere. I’m a huge music person). It doesn’t matter if you write or not because these quotes are from novels that transcend through all of humanity, no matter where you’re from, what your interests are, or what you’re studying/working as. If you need some inspiration, here’s a list of literary quotes that I’ve curated to both encourage and inspire. I hope you find something you need in them.


"Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them" — William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

This is the first one I thought of when I was putting together this post. How can this not encourage someone to move forward when they are chasing their dreams, whether it be something huge or something a little more simple, like getting straight A’s. It tells you to not be fearful of doing well, regardless of how large your success is. Never dull your shine for anyone.


"It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do” — Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Another I thought of pretty quickly. The phrase, “actions speak louder than words” is essentially what Jane put into much more eloquent terms in her novel, “Sense and Sensibility"

Be true to yourself in everything you do. Of course, the things you say and think are important but the message of this quote is backing up the things you say with what you do. Always be honest with yourself and go from there.


"It matters not what someone was born, but what they grow to be” — J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

No more really needs to be said for this quote. It’s something many people need to remember. Regardless of your upbringing, how good or bad things were, or what you’ve done in your past, you can always do better and be better if you want to. No outside factors or internal worries should make the decisions of where you want to be and where you want to go.


"Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see It through no matter what.” — Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Another that doesn’t need much of an explanation. It’s a reminder to push through the difficult times, including the fear and doubt you may feel before you even begin.


"Not all who wander are lost.” — J.R.R. Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

One of the most used quotes of all time, and with good reason. Throughout all of history, people have taken time to find themselves, to figure out who they are, what they want to do, and where they want to go. From gap years to quitting their jobs and going off the grid for a while, traveling or anything else that requires them to take a pause and reflect on their purpose in life.


"It’s much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.” — Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

This is a reminder to not do good or kind things just for recognition or glory. Do them out of the goodness of your heart and that will be more than enough.

"No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” — Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own.

Tying into a few of the previous quotes, it’s another reminder to be true to yourself and not to change for anyone, no matter who they are or what they can do for you. It’s also a reminder to never compare yourself to anyone else. Other’s success is not and should not be the bar for yours. Keep going, push through the doubt and block out anything that makes you question your worthiness. You deserve success as much as anyone else.

"We need never be ashamed of our tears.” — Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Don’t ever be afraid to express your feelings. While there may be times when you have to keep a straight or brave face on, it’s important to make sure your feelings don’t get bottled up. You shouldn’t be embarrassed in those moments.

"So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

So many times the famous “infinite” quote is used from this book, but there are SO many more that pack just as much, if not more of a punch. This is only one among the plethora of others. At first glance, it may seem essentially the same as the Harry Potter quote above, but to me, this has a little more depth. Maybe that comes from my deep love for this novel. I get it and it gets me. But I do believe that this could resonate on another level with those who feel the same way. And if you haven’t read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, I HIGHLY recommend it.

"Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

We’ve all been through some tough, even dark times. In those moments, we may feel like there’s no way out or that things might never get better, and in those times, this is an important statement to remember. The sun will shine again and things will get better. Keep this quote close to you as a source of comfort and inspiration.

There it is! The 10 literary quotes that I feel can truly encourage and inspire in every aspect. Whether you’re a writer or not, these are a selection that I hope will resonate with you and I hope you enjoyed the read.

Leave a comment below and let me know what literary quotes inspire you!

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Heather Ann

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      • Heatherann05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Heather Ann 

        11 days ago

        @Lorna - Thank you, Lorna! I agree they can add a lot to many different topics/types of writing. I'm glad you liked the quotes I chose. I find they really resonate with me and it's awesome to hear they did with you too!

      • Lorna Lamon profile image

        Lorna Lamon 

        13 days ago

        This is a very uplifting article Heather Ann. I like to use quotes which tie in with the piece I am writing which I find gives it depth. The quotes you have highlighted read like a journey through life - I particularly like Tolstoy's and also Victor Hugo - powerful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

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