Sunday, July 22, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Carl Friedrich Gauss

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You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length.
--
As quoted in Calculus Gems (1992) by George F. Simmons

 
Carl Friedrich Gauss

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Bad writing days are days when you mean to write and can't, or are interrupted so frequently that nothing gets done. I'm disheartened at how often I see the blogs of aspiring writers bemoaning how slowly a book or story is coming along. They have somehow gotten it in their heads that writing is a thing done quickly, efficiently, like an assembly line with lots of shiny robotic workers. The truth, of course, is that writing is usually slow, and inefficient, and more like trying to find a cube of brown Jello that someone's carelessly dropped into a pig sty. Five hundred words in a day is good. So is a thousand. Or fifteen hundred. A good writing day is a day when one has written well, and the word counts be damned. Finishing is not the goal. Doing the job well is the goal. And I say that as someone with no means of financial support but her writing, as someone who is woefully underpaid for her writing, and as someone with so many deadlines breathing down her neck that she can no longer tell one breather from the other. Sometimes, I forget this, that daily word counts are irrelevant, that writing is not a race to the finish line. One need only write well if one wishes to be a writer. A day when one does not do her best merely so that more may be written, that's a bad writing day.

 
Caitlin R. Kiernan
 

I would keep writing even without the eventual possibility of glory. Really, with writing, the idea that I was going to be able to support myself was a long shot. I’m living off my writing now, without grants or a part time job, and it feels so tenuous. It could go downhill tomorrow, you know? I was writing before I thought it was even a real possibility to support myself with my writing, and I’ll keep writing after it becomes clear that it isn’t a real possibility after all. Not because I “must write” or because it’s “in my blood” or anything poetic like that. Or maybe those are just fancy ways of describing this certainty I have that all of my worth is wrapped up in my writing. From very young it seemed to me that writing was the only thing I did that was worthwhile. That had a chance of lasting. So, my work is something I have always given priority. The rest of my life can be falling apart, and it often seems to be, and I still take the time to work on the comic, or short stories. I am always moving forward with my writing. In a way I do treat everything else as a support system for the writing, but it isn’t really. And by treating it that way, I tend to neglect it.

 
Joey Comeau
 

I am essentially a religious type. In my teens I gave up Catholicism, and at the same time I started writing. Writing keeps me at my desk, constantly trying to write a perfect sentence. It is a great privilege to make one's living from writing sentences. The sentence is the greatest invention of civilization. To sit all day long assembling these extraordinary strings of words is a marvelous thing. I couldn't ask for anything better. It's as near to godliness as I can get.

 
John Banville
 

Planning to write is not writing. Outlining ...researching ...talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.

 
E. L. Doctorow
 

The question we writers are asked most often, the favorite question, is: Why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write. I write because I can’t do normal work as other people do. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can partake of real life only by changing it. I write because I want others, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a childish belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all life’s beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but—as in a dream—can’t quite get to. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy.

 
Orhan Pamuk
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