Tuesday, January 16, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

E. L. Doctorow

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Planning to write is not writing. Outlining ...researching ...talking to people about what youíre doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.
--
The New York Times (1985-10-20)

 
E. L. Doctorow

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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. Iím 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 Iíll keep writing after it becomes clear that it isnít a real possibility after all. Not because I ďmust writeĒ or because itís ďin my bloodĒ 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 isnít really. And by treating it that way, I tend to neglect it.

 
Joey Comeau
 

Distractions have never prevented a Writing Writer Who Writes from writing; distractions are an excuse proffered by Non-Writing Non-Writers Who are Not-Writing for why they are not writing.

 
Merlin Mann
 

I had gone thoroughly through some of the all-fiction magazines and I made up my mind that if people were paid for writing such rot as I read I could write stories just as rotten. Although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines.
I knew nothing about the technique of story writing, and now, after eighteen years of writing, I still know nothing about the technique, although with the publication of my new novel, Tarzan and the Lost Empire, there are 31 books on my list. I had never met an editor, or an author or a publisher. l had no idea of how to submit a story or what I could expect in payment. Had I known anything about it at all I would never have thought of submitting half a novel; but that is what I did.
Thomas Newell Metcalf, who was then editor of The All-Story magazine, published by Munsey, wrote me that he liked the first half of a story I had sent him, and if the second half was as good he thought he might use it. Had he not given me this encouragement, I would never have finished the story, and my writing career would have been at an end, since l was not writing because of any urge to write, nor for any particular love of writing. l was writing because I had a wife and two babies, a combination which does not work well without money.

 
Edgar Rice Burroughs
 

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 hate writing. I so intensely hate writing ó I cannot tell you how much. The moment I am at the end of one project I have the idea that I didnít really succeed in telling what I wanted to tell, that I need a new project ó itís an absolute nightmare. But my whole economy of writing is in fact based on an obsessional ritual to avoid the actual act of writing.

 
Slavoj Zizek
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