Zadie Smith, a renowned author known for her insightful and thought-provoking writing, has left us with a treasure trove of inspiring quotes. Her words touch on love, identity, writing, and the human experience. In this post, we’ll explore some of Zadie Smith’s most powerful quotes, breaking them down into simple explanations and discovering the inspiration they offer. From the complexities of love to the art of writing and the wisdom of life, Zadie Smith’s quotes have something to offer everyone. Join us in unlocking the wisdom found in her words.
Zadie Smith Quotes
- Powerful Zadie Smith Quotes
- Zadie Smith Quotes on Writing
- Changing My Mind Quotes Zadie Smith
- On Beauty Quotes by Zadie Smith
- White Teeth Quotes by Zadie Smith
Powerful Zadie Smith Quotes
1. “The past is always tense, the future perfect.” – This quote means that we often look back at our past with some stress or tension, while we imagine the future as if it will be flawless.
Inspiration: It reminds us to accept the imperfections of the past and not idealize the future. Life is a journey with both ups and downs, and it’s essential to find peace in the present moment.
2. “The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free.” – Love is often portrayed as something that makes us feel completely liberated. However, this quote suggests that love doesn’t necessarily free us from all constraints and responsibilities.
Inspiration: It encourages us to have realistic expectations about love. Love can be wonderful, but it doesn’t mean we won’t face challenges or responsibilities in our relationships.
3. “Time is how you spend your love.” – This quote emphasizes that the way we allocate our time reflects the love and care we have for something or someone.
Inspiration: It reminds us to prioritize what truly matters to us by dedicating time to the people and activities we love, as time is a precious resource that shows our priorities.
4. “Without the balancing context of everyday life, all you have is the news, and news by its nature is generally bad.” – This quote suggests that if we focus solely on the news and neglect our daily life and personal experiences, we might become overwhelmed by negative information from the news.
Inspiration: It encourages us to maintain a balance between staying informed about the world and living our everyday lives, so we don’t become overly pessimistic due to the constant stream of bad news.
5. “Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on.” – This quote advises us to shift our focus from obsessing over our identity to caring for our relationships, values, and passions.
Inspiration: It encourages us to lead a more meaningful life by prioritizing our connections with others, important ideas, and values that drive us forward.
6. “Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.” – This quote encourages honesty and acknowledges that truth might be expressed in different ways. It also acknowledges that true satisfaction may be elusive.
Inspiration: It inspires us to be truthful in our actions and words, even if it means confronting life’s imperfections and accepting that complete satisfaction might be a lifelong pursuit.
7. “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” – This quote emphasizes the importance of safeguarding the time and space where you create, even if it means setting boundaries with loved ones.
Inspiration: It highlights the need to prioritize your creative process and personal space, recognizing that it can lead to better creative work and personal fulfillment.
8. “Desperation, weakness, vulnerability – these things will always be exploited. You need to protect the weak, ring-fence them, with something far stronger than empathy.” – This quote advises us to go beyond empathy and actively protect those who are vulnerable, as empathy alone may not be enough to shield them from exploitation.
Inspiration: It encourages us to take meaningful action to support and protect those in need, recognizing that empathy should be accompanied by concrete efforts to make a difference.
9. “Nowadays, I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own.” – This quote suggests that reading can be a way to connect with the thoughts and experiences of others and alleviate feelings of loneliness.
Inspiration: It reminds us of the power of literature and how it can provide solace and a sense of connection, even when we feel alone.
10. “Don’t confuse honors with achievement.” – This quote advises us not to mistake recognition or awards for actual accomplishments or success.
Inspiration: It encourages us to focus on real achievements and personal growth, rather than seeking external validation or honors.
11. “The lack of alternatives to an illegal action does not legitimize that action.” – This quote asserts that just because there may be no other choice but to do something illegal doesn’t make the illegal action morally right or acceptable.
Inspiration: It emphasizes the importance of ethical choices, even in difficult situations, and highlights that legality alone doesn’t determine the rightness of an action.
12. “Your mid-thirties is a good time because you know a fair amount, you have some self-control.” – This quote suggests that one’s mid-thirties can be a beneficial time in life because of accumulated knowledge and increased self-discipline.
Inspiration: It reminds us that with age and experience, we can gain wisdom and self-control, which can lead to making more thoughtful and intentional decisions.
13. “Young people understand the world. They should be listened to on matters of politics and world organization. But they know nothing of their own lives.” – This quote recognizes the insights of young people in understanding global issues but suggests they may still be learning about their personal lives.
Inspiration: It encourages us to value the perspectives of the younger generation in shaping the world, while also recognizing the importance of personal growth and self-discovery.
14. “If you love a young writer, maybe the best thing you can do is give them a little bit of space.” – This quote advises that supporting young writers may involve giving them room to develop their talent and find their voice.
Inspiration: It reminds us to nurture and encourage young creatives by respecting their creative process and allowing them the space to grow and experiment.
15. “Unless you consider yourself some sort of human brand, which I don’t, you have to deal with the fact that different people are going to like different aspects of your work. It’s not consistent. I am not consistent. But I feel OK with that.” – This quote acknowledges that not everyone will have the same opinions about your work, and that’s okay, especially if you don’t see yourself as a “brand.”
Inspiration: It encourages us to embrace the diversity of opinions and appreciate that people may connect with different facets of our work or personality. It’s a reminder that inconsistency in our creative or personal journey is natural and should be accepted.
Zadie Smith Quotes on Writing
16. “If you’re going to write a good book, you have to make mistakes and you have to not be so cautious all the time.” – This quote means that to create a great book, you need to take risks and not be too afraid of making mistakes while writing.
Inspiration: It inspires us to be bold and adventurous in our writing, understanding that mistakes are a natural part of the creative process and can lead to better and more authentic work.
17. “We cannot be all writers all the time. We can only be who we are.” – This quote reminds us that we have other roles and identities besides being writers, and it’s essential to embrace our true selves.
Inspiration: It encourages us to find a balance between our writing life and other aspects of our identity, promoting self-acceptance and authenticity.
18. “Writing is my way of expressing – and thereby eliminating – all the various ways we can be wrong-headed.” – This quote suggests that writing allows the author to explore and correct their own flawed thinking.
Inspiration: It shows how writing can be a tool for self-reflection and personal growth, inspiring us to use writing as a means to understand and improve our perspectives.
19. “Like all readers, I want my limits to be drawn by my own sensibilities, not by my melanin count.” – This quote emphasizes that readers should be limited by their own tastes and preferences, not by their race or ethnicity.
Inspiration: It encourages us to appreciate literature and art based on our personal preferences and values, rather than external factors, such as skin color.
20. “Don’t romanticize your ‘vocation.’ You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle.’ All that matters is what you leave on the page.” – This quote advises against idealizing the idea of being a writer, stating that what truly matters is the quality of your writing, not a glamorous writer’s lifestyle.
Inspiration: It reminds us to focus on honing our writing skills and producing meaningful work, rather than getting caught up in the notion of being a writer for the sake of image.
21. “I have the ambition to write a great book, but that’s really a competition with myself. I’ve noticed that a lot of young writers, people in all media, want to be famous but they don’t really want to do anything. I can’t think of anything less worth striving for than fame.” – This quote expresses a desire for excellence in writing and critiques the modern fixation on fame without substance.
Inspiration: It motivates us to prioritize the quality of our creative work over seeking fame and recognition, emphasizing the value of personal growth and artistic achievement.
22. “I’m always a bit suspicious of writers who have the gift of the gab.” – This quote suggests caution when it comes to writers who talk a lot but may not produce substantial written work.
Inspiration: It reminds us that being a writer is primarily about the quality of the written words, and mere talk may not always reflect genuine talent and commitment.
23. “Normally, young writers have all the time in the world and they don’t always use it well.” – This quote points out that young writers often have plenty of time but may not always use it effectively.
Inspiration: It encourages young writers to make the most of their time and work diligently on their craft, recognizing the value of time in developing their skills.
24. “We cannot be all writers all the time. We can only be who we are.” – This quote reiterates that being a writer is just one part of our identity, and we should embrace our true selves beyond that role.
Inspiration: It reinforces the importance of balance in life, reminding us to honor our diverse identities and not be consumed solely by our writer persona.
25. “You become a different writer when you approach a short story. When things are not always having to represent other things, you find real human beings begin to cautiously appear on your pages.” – This quote suggests that when writing short stories, there’s more freedom for characters to be themselves without constantly symbolizing something else.
Inspiration: It inspires us to appreciate the unique creative opportunities of short story writing, where characters can be more authentic and genuine, making the stories richer and more relatable.
Changing My Mind Quotes by Zadie Smith
26. “Nowadays I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own.” – This quote means that one of the main reasons people read is to connect with the thoughts and feelings of others, which can make them feel less lonely.
Inspiration: It inspires us to appreciate the power of books and reading to bridge the gap between our own thoughts and those of the authors, fostering a sense of connection and understanding.
27. “Other people’s words are the bridge you use to cross from where you were to wherever you’re going.” – This quote suggests that the words and ideas of others can help us move from our current understanding or situation to new places and perspectives.
Inspiration: It encourages us to be open to different viewpoints and the wisdom of others, recognizing that their words can be a valuable guide in our journey of personal growth and learning.
28. “Much of the excitement of a new novel lies in the repudiation of the one written before.” – This quote means that part of the thrill of writing a new book comes from rejecting or moving away from the ideas and style of the previous one.
Inspiration: It inspires us to embrace change and evolution in our creative work, acknowledging that each new project allows us to explore fresh ideas and perspectives, contributing to our growth as writers.
29. “You need a certain head on your shoulders to edit a novel, and it’s not the head of a writer in the thick of it, nor the head of a professional editor who’s read it in twelve different versions.” – This quote suggests that effective novel editing requires a different perspective, not from the author deeply involved in the story or a professional editor who’s seen many drafts.
Inspiration: It encourages us to approach our work with fresh eyes and objectivity during the editing process, seeking feedback from those who can provide a new, critical viewpoint.
30. “It’s the head of a smart stranger who picks it off a bookshelf and begins to read. You need to get the head of that smart stranger somehow. You need to forget you ever wrote that book.” – This quote underscores the importance of viewing your own work as if it were written by someone else when trying to reach a wider audience.
Inspiration: It inspires us to detach from our personal attachment to our work and see it through the eyes of potential readers. By doing so, we can better connect with and engage a broader audience.
On Beauty Quotes by Zadie Smith
31. “The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free.” – This quote suggests that the idea that love makes you completely free is a big falsehood.
Inspiration: It inspires us to have realistic expectations about love. Love can be wonderful, but it doesn’t mean we won’t face challenges or responsibilities in our relationships.
32. “You don’t have favorites among your children, but you do have allies.” – This quote means that while parents don’t pick favorites among their children, they may have some children who are more similar to them or easier to connect with.
Inspiration: It encourages us to appreciate the unique qualities and connections we have with different people in our lives, even if they aren’t our “favorites.”
33. “I am very selfish, really. I lived for love.” – This quote means the speaker is admitting that they can be self-centered and that love is a significant part of their life.
Inspiration: It reminds us that it’s okay to acknowledge our flaws and our desire for love, as love is a powerful and natural human emotion.
34. “It’s easy to confuse a woman for a philosophy.” – This quote suggests that people sometimes mistake a woman’s beliefs or ideas for her whole identity.
Inspiration: It reminds us not to reduce someone to their thoughts or beliefs, but to see the full person with a complex and rich identity.
35. “This is what a woman is: unadorned, after children and work and age, and experience-these are the marks of living.” – This quote describes what a woman truly is: someone who has lived, with the experiences of children, work, age, and life etched upon her.
Inspiration: It inspires us to appreciate the depth and richness of a person’s life journey, recognizing that these experiences shape who they are.
36. “I’m not sure if you’re the person for me anymore.” – This quote conveys doubt about the compatibility or connection with someone.
Inspiration: It encourages us to be honest about our feelings and relationships, recognizing that sometimes, it’s necessary to reevaluate and make changes for our well-being.
37. “This was one of the little ways in which he said sorry. They were meant to add up each day.” – This quote describes a small gesture as a way of saying sorry, with the hope that these little acts of apology will accumulate over time.
Inspiration: It inspires us to understand that apologies and making amends can be achieved through consistent and sincere efforts, even through small acts of kindness and love.
38. “Most of the cruelty in the world is just misplaced energy.” – This quote suggests that much of the cruelty people exhibit comes from misdirected or poorly managed emotions and energy.
Inspiration: It reminds us to be more compassionate and understanding of others, recognizing that some negative behaviors may be a result of inner struggles that can be addressed with empathy and support.
39. “The fate of the young man in his headphones, who faced a jail cell that very night, did not seem such a world away from his own predicament: an anniversary party full of academics.” – This quote draws a parallel between the challenges faced by a young man facing jail and the speaker’s predicament at an academic anniversary party, suggesting they may share a sense of isolation or difficulty.
Inspiration: It encourages us to find common humanity and empathy in unexpected places, recognizing that even very different situations can sometimes connect us through shared emotions or struggles.
White Teeth Quotes by Zadie Smith
40. “Faith is hard to achieve, easy to lose.” – This quote means that having faith or belief can be challenging to establish, but it can quickly disappear.
Inspiration: It inspires us to value and nurture our beliefs and faith, recognizing their fragility and the need for continued commitment to maintain them.
41. “Sacrifice was nine-tenths of parenting.” – This quote suggests that being a parent often involves making significant sacrifices for the well-being of one’s children.
Inspiration: It encourages us to appreciate the selfless and caring nature of parenting, recognizing that the sacrifices made are a vital part of raising and nurturing the next generation.
42. “Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories.” – This quote means that every moment has two aspects: what we feel and experience inside ourselves and how it appears to the outside world, and these two perspectives can be quite different.
Inspiration: It inspires us to be mindful of the dual nature of our experiences, understanding that our inner feelings may not always match how our actions and words are perceived by others.
43. “You must live life with the full knowledge that your actions will remain. We are creatures of consequence.” – This quote emphasizes that our actions have lasting consequences, and we should be aware of the impact we leave on the world.
Inspiration: It encourages us to be responsible and mindful of our choices, recognizing that the way we live and act can have a lasting influence on our lives and the lives of others.
44. “In the end, your past is not my past and your truth is not my truth and your solution – is not my solution.” – This quote conveys that people have different pasts, perspectives, and solutions to their problems.
Inspiration: It inspires us to respect the diversity of human experiences and recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to life’s challenges.
45. “When the male organ of a man stands erect, two-thirds of his intellect go away. And one-third of his religion.” – This quote humorously suggests that a man’s ability to think clearly can be impaired when he is sexually aroused.
Inspiration: It offers a lighthearted perspective on human nature and reminds us that we all have moments of distraction and vulnerability.
46. “One just has to look at the thing from a perspective that interests you personally.” – This quote advises us to view something from a perspective that genuinely interests us.
Inspiration: It encourages us to approach our interests with enthusiasm and curiosity, recognizing that genuine passion can lead to a deeper and more meaningful understanding.
47. “Early in the morning, late in the century, Cricklewood Broadway.” – This quote describes a specific place and time, setting the scene for a story or reflection.
Inspiration: It creates a vivid image and a sense of time and place, inspiring us to appreciate the richness of details in our surroundings and memories.
48. “You are never stronger,” thought Samad as he approached the doctor, “than when you land on the other side of despair.” – This quote suggests that our greatest strength emerges when we overcome moments of deep despair and difficulty.
Inspiration: It reminds us of our resilience and ability to grow and find strength in challenging times, encouraging us to persevere through adversity.
49. “That is a common mistake. The truth does not depend on what you read.” – This quote points out that the truth is not determined by what you read or hear.
Inspiration: It encourages us to think critically and seek the truth through careful consideration and discernment, rather than relying solely on external sources for our understanding of reality.
I hope you liked the above Zadie Smith Quotes. Don’t forget to mention the best line that you liked most from the above lines in the comment box below.
You may also like the motivational articles mentioned below:
- Expectation Quotes
- Experience Quotes
- Achievement Quotes
- Friendship Quotes
- Honesty Quotes
- Truth Telling Quotes