Writing Tips

Kurt Vonnegut Inspirational Quotes

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Kurt Vonnegut inspirational quotes, author photograph

Kurt Vonnegut was an American writer who was most famous for his 1969 work Slaughterhouse-Five. He was a prolific writer who is famous for his ability to make his readers think. He had a unique worldview that he sometimes presented using satire. Let’s explore some of the most famous Kurt Vonnegut inspirational quotes.

Who was Kurt Vonnegut?

Kurt Vonnegut was born in 1922 in Indianapolis. He attended Cornell University, but he did not finish as he enlisted in the Army in 1943. He was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. He survived the Allied bombing of Dresden in the meat locker of a slaughterhouse where he was imprisoned.

Slaughterhouse-Five, first edition
Slaughterhouse-Five, first edition

After the war, Vonnegut married, had three children, and raised his nephews after the death of their parents. Vonnegut and his wife attended the University of Chicago. Vonnegut’s first published piece of creative writing was Piano Player in 1952. Throughout the next 20 years, he published several novels that were nominated for a Hugo Award.

In 1969, America was embroiled in the Vietnam War. Vonnegut’s experience during World War II undoubtedly influenced the anti-war sentiment in Slaughterhouse-Five which resonated with readers at the time. It went on to make the New York Times Best Seller list and is one of the most influential Kurt Vonnegut books of all time.

8 Top Kurt Vonnegut Quotes

Kurt Vonnegut’s quotes sometimes make us laugh, and they sometimes make us cry. The one thing that Kurt Vonnegut inspirational quotes always do is make us think. Let’s explore his advice on writing and the world.

1. “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” ― Piano Player

Success is achieved through pushing yourself. Growth only exists outside of the comfort zone. Pushing your limits is the only way to see how far you can go and what steps you need to take next to get there.

man jumping off cliff into lake
Photo by Drew Darby on Unsplash

2. “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young

We spend more time planning and worrying about how to do something, and sometimes, what we need is to get started and do it. That is not to say you should not plan, but you can’t get stuck in the planning stage. You will figure it out as you go and gain confidence in the process.

3. “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.”

Vonnegut had some of the most difficult experiences one could imagine during World War II. He reminds us that we always have a choice as to how we respond. Keeping a positive attitude is better than sadness in any circumstance, so you should always try to look for the positive in any situation.

4. “There is no order in the world around us, we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead.” — Breakfast of Champions

This one is hard for writers who are obsessive planners. Things seldom go as planned in the end. Resilience is a better adaptation to the world of writing than any other skill or trait that you can foster in yourself.

5. “People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order, so they’ll have good voice boxes in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say.” – Cat’s Cradle

This applies to writers, too. If you do not use your writing muscle, it will get rusty. You should write something every day, even if it is in your journal or something that you never intend to publish, but you must write.

colorful used paintbrushes
Photo by thom masat on Unsplash

6. “I admire anybody who finishes a work of art, no matter how awful it may be.” – Palm Sunday

As a writer, one of the biggest hurdles many of us face is getting started. Perfection is the biggest enemy of a productive writer. You should never be afraid to create a piece of work that is awful because you can always edit it and improve it later.

7. “I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.” – Palm Sunday

The act of writing forms a connection with your readers that is a two-way street. Writing and reading are meditative and allow us to get to know ourselves better. Reading someone else’s work is one of the few times when we can truly get inside the mind of someone else.

8. “So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?’” – If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?

Once again, Kurt Vonnegut reminds us of the importance of taking time to appreciate what we have. This will get you farther in life than anything else. Taking time to appreciate what you have is one thing that you should never forget to do every day.

woman pausing from reading to look out window
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Now, you have some of the best Kurt Vonnegut inspirational quotes that you can use as a writer. Vonnegut left his mark on the world of literature, and we all have something to gain from his unique perspective. If you enjoyed these quotes, you might be interested in exploring other quotes about reading and writing. You might also enjoy these quotes by G.K. Chesterton and Neil Gaiman.

Chris Craft

Follower of Jesus. Husband. Father. Founder of InspireFirst and Nao Media.