37 Splendid Maria Semple Quotes

Maria Semple is an American novelist and screenwriter. She is known for authoring multiple books and has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Here is a look at some of the most notable Maria Semple quotes ever recorded.

“After decades spent in rewrite rooms surrounded by other shouting writers, I discovered that I work best alone. I like being in charge of my time, working out the problems according to my own rhythms and being able to nap.”

“An artist must create. If she doesn’t, she will become a menace to society.”

“And dialogue, I’m good at it, and it’s because it’s the only thing you have to work with in TV writing.”

“Creating art is painful. It takes time, practice, and the courage to stand alone.”

“I’d say I never considered myself a great architect. I’m more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.”

“I always write authors after I read their books. I’ve been doing it for years. I write a formal letter and send it to them in care of their agent. My mother always taught us to write thank you notes, and if an author puts themselves out there, they like to hear that their book connected with someone.”


“I can pinpoint that as the single happiest moment of my life, because I realized then that Mom would always have my back. It made me feel giant.”

“I don’t mind finding these ugly sides to my personality and exaggerating them because that’s something you can write towards.”

“I drop my kid off at school and then race home, and it’s a very limited time. I can only do really serious writing for a couple of hours. And then I always go on a walk, I do a one-to-two-hour walk; I don’t go running or hard hiking.”

“I just feel like there’s this illicit thrill in reading other people’s mail and spying on their lives.”

“I keep an elaborate calendar for my characters detailing on which dates everything happens. I’m constantly revising this as I go along. It gives me the freedom to intricately plot my story, knowing it will at least hold up on a timeline.”

“I know what it’s like to feel snobby; I know what it’s like to feel anxiety; I know what it’s like to feel like busted because you’re crazy.”

“I learned that comedy is born out of strong characters. I won’t begin writing a character until I have a clear take on them.”

“I love epistolary novels and became wildly excited when the form presented itself to me.”

“I never understood the concept of a fluffy summer read. For me, summer reading means beaches, long train rides and layovers in foreign airports. All of which call for escaping into really long books.”

“I quickly realized that shopping on Amazon had made the idea of parking my car and going into a store feel like an outrageous imposition on my time and good nature.”

“I steer clear of any novel that gets billed as a ‘meditation.'”

“I suppose I could admire all these slow Seattle drivers for their safety-mindedness, consideration for others, and peace of mind. Instead, I’m a fury of annoyance.”

“I think a novel has to be about where you are at a given moment in time. I think it really needs to represent some specific pain you’re going through. it’s not just a story.”

“I think because I try to keep things as real as I can, or I try to start from a place of reality, I almost don’t have the imagination to write a book that’s not set where I am.”

“I think that’s the most important job of a novelist – to bring authority to their writing.”

“If I had written something, and I had written myself into a corner, I didn’t abandon it. Because I remembered: There’s always more.”

“In a lot of ways, TV writing taught me how to be a good storyteller. I learned about dialogue, scenes, moving the plot forward.”

“Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.”

“My father was a screenwriter, and I kind of grew up in that world. I always had a mind for characters and dialogue, and my head was filled with that stuff, so it seemed like a good place to start.”

“My favorite kind of book is a domestic drama that’s grounded in reality yet slightly unhinged.”

“My first novel didn’t sell well. It was really painful and humiliating and shocking to me.”

“My strength as a TV writer was my total lack of interest in television.”

“My summer reading suggestion: Pick a really famous, really long novel.”

“My talent isn’t so much in traditional research as in finding really smart people and badgering them with questions.”

“On my walks, that’s when the good ideas come. The kind of hard, gritty work is when you’re sitting at the computer and it’s kind of intense and you’re kind of in super control of it – the walks are when you let go. That’s when the really big breakthroughs come in, and it’s very strange.”

“Ruthless concern with story is what I learned in television.”

“There’s a happiness that comes from writing that I won’t live without.”

“There’s something uniquely exhilarating about puzzling together the truth at the hands of an unreliable narrator.”

“This is Seattle. We’re supposed to have superior taste.”

“This is why you must love life: one day you’re offering up your social security number to the Russian Mafia; two weeks later you’re using the word calve as a verb.”

“We need to preserve our neighborhoods, our small business, our local economy.”

Here is an interview with Maria Semple at the Book Expo America in 2016.