James Patterson is one of the most prolific and famous American authors and one who is dedicated to philanthropy around education and helping children learn to read. As writers, we can learn much about the craft that can be applied to our own writing through connections with others in the profession, regardless of the type of writing that we do. Walking in the footsteps of the greats helps us gain perspective on what it takes to become better at what we do. That is why I have compiled this list of the 10 best James Patterson quotes.
James Patterson’s Life Story
James Patterson was born in 1947 in Newburgh, New York. He was not interested in reading until he graduated from high school and attended Manhattan College. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He attended Vanderbilt University and enrolled in a graduate program for English literature, but he quit to take a job as a copywriter at an ad agency.
Patterson rose in the ranks of the corporate world to become North American CEO, writing fiction books in his spare time. In 1976, he published his first book, The Thomas Berryman Number, which was rejected by publishers 31 times before it later went on to win an Edgar Award for mystery writers. In 1993, Along Came a Spider was published and would go on to become a best-seller. This would allow him to quit his executive position to pursue writing full-time. Throughout his career, he has produced everything from romance novels to young adult books, but he is best best-known for his spellbinding thrillers.
Philanthropy and giving back to the community are important to the author, and he is committed to causes that are dedicated to helping children read and fall in love with books. At present, he has dedicated $1.75 million to public school libraries and $1 million to independent bookstores. Not only is Patterson one of the most famous American authors, but he is committed to leaving a legacy that promotes the joy of reading.
James Patterson’s Most Notable Works
James Patterson has written in various genres, and many of his works have been adapted into films and television shows. He is best known for his mysteries, but he has also written romance novels, historical fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and science fiction. Along Came a Spider is the first of one of his most popular thriller book series, Alex Cross. Adapted films were produced from numerous works of his including Along Came a Spider.
10 Best James Patterson Quotes
Here are some of my favorite James Patterson quotes from his life and most famous work.
1. “Somebody said the key to life is to work hard, play hard, rest hard, and I’ve pretty much adopted that.”
This a theme that is echoed among many productivity gurus and self-help proponents. It holds true for keeping life in balance. You do not get anywhere without working hard, but if you forget to play hard, you cannot keep up the pace. Rest is important for restoring your energy.
2. “I was thirty-eight at the time. As the saying goes, if I’d known I was going to live that long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
Keeping your body fit, getting enough rest, and eating right is the key to staying healthy. It is about having a good quality of life as we age so that we can pay attention to the most important things in life and enjoy them. It is good to start early, but it is never too late to get started on the road to health. You cannot achieve success without health.
3. “If I’m writing and a chapter isn’t coming, I just move ahead.”
Everyone gets stuck at some point during the writing process. You can’t allow yourself to stay there. Sometimes, if you just let it go and keep moving, it will come to you. Writing is an evolutionary process, but it does not always go in a straight line. The result is the same in the end.
4. “A good love story always keeps the pot boiling.”
This is true whether you are writing romance novels, blogs, or any other kind of writing. You have to lead the reader along and make them want to know what you have to say next. Always end with an enticing invitation to the next article, chapter, or podcast.
5. “I never miss a good chance to shut up.” – from Along Came a Spider
This quote is from one of James Patterson’s famous characters, but it is good advice. We learn much more by listening than by speaking. If you want to learn about what your readers want, listen to them.
6. “I guess I write four or five hours a day, but I do it seven days a week. It’s very disciplined, yes, but it’s joy for me.”
This quote is the essence of anything that you do in life. Success requires consistent, hard work, but if you do not enjoy what you do, it can be the worst kind of drudgery. If you love what you do, they say that you never work a day in your life, and that is the key to passion. It is what gets you through the hard days and the days when you do not feel like doing it.
7. “I’m a very good storyteller; I have a lot of compassion for people. That’s very useful for a novelist.”
The first rule of writing is that you have to care about your audience and want to give them something. You might want them to be entertained, become informed, or take some action. You have to care about them to be able to connect with them. You have to think about your audience first, not in terms of what you get from them, but in terms of what you can give them.
8. “A lot of writers fall in love with their sentences or their construction of sentences, and sometimes that’s great, but not everybody is Gabriel Garcia Marquez or James Joyce. A lot of people like to pretend that they are, and they wind up not giving people a good read or enlightening them.”
This is a good reminder to focus on the message that you want to convey. It is easy to get so caught up in the technical aspects of writing that you lose sight of the message. When you sit down to write, you should choose one single message that you want to convey and be consistent with it from the beginning of the piece until the end.
9. “I have a folder in my office with about 400 ideas in it. So it will take me another 40 years to get through those.”
Every writer needs to have a place where they can jot down ideas as they come to them. This can be a folder on the computer or a physical journal. When you cannot think of what to write, you have a collection of ideas to use as inspiration.
10. “It’s all right to put the weight of the world on your shoulders sometimes, if you know how to take it off.” – from Along Came a Spider
This quote was saved for last because it is the most important one on the list. We can get caught up in our busy lives so much that we forget to take a break. Taking time to enjoy life and reconnect means that when we are working, we have the energy to give it our best.
Now, you have the 10 best James Patterson quotes from a master of the craft. Hopefully, these have inspired you and given you something that you can apply to your own life and work. If you want to learn more from famous writers, check out this list of quotes from Harper Lee and Stephen King.