10 Norman Mailer Quotes that Are Great Lessons to Borrow From!

Norman Mailer was a novelist, playwright, and actor. He was also a philosopher. Every author is in a way. Let’s feast our eyes on his words and learn something from them.

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Norman Mailer is best known as an American Novelist, playwright, filmmaker, and actor. Considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, Mailer was one of the pioneers of the genre, which is also called New Journalism, although it covers the essay to the nonfiction novel. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize twice, the National Book Award once, and had 11 bestselling books in his arsenal.

He served in the U.S. Army after University and used it as inspiration for his debut novel The Naked and The Dead. The Pulitzer Prize that he won twice, was for his books The Executioner’s Song and Armies of the Night.

Today, we celebrate the legacy of this writer with ten of his most interesting quotes.


1. On Life and Purpose:

“I don’t think life is absurd. I think we are all here for a huge purpose. I think we shrink from the immensity of the purpose we are here for.”

Norman Mailer

2. On Writing Books:

“Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.”

Norman Mailer

3. On Courage:

“Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision.”

Norman Mailer

4. On Being Irrational:

“Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war.”

Norman Mailer

5. On Being an Author:

“Writer’s block is only a failure of the ego.”

Norman Mailer

6. On Personal Growth:

“Every moment of one’s existence one is growing into more or retreating into less. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit.”

Norman Mailer

7. On Priorities:

“You never do find out what makes you tick, and after a while it’s unimportant.”

Norman Mailer

8. On Courage (again, because we need these reminders!):

“We are all so guilty at the way we have allowed the world around us to become more ugly and tasteless every year that we surrender to terror and steep ourselves in it.”

Norman Mailer

9. On the Writer’s Journey:

“Every one of my books had killed me a little more.”

Norman Mailer

10. On Emotions:

“The only faithfulness people have is to emotions they’re trying to recapture”

Norman Mailer

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