“One of the things that young writers falsely hope exists is inspiration. A lot of young writers fail because they aren’t putting in the hours. …I think it’s crucial that we have some kind of rhythm. Whether you can write all day every day, or whether you can write four hours on Sunday. Whatever it is, you have to protect that time. The whole idea of a rhythm is crucial, almost the most crucial thing for a young writer. Treat it like a real job and be at your desk. I don’t necessarily stay there, but I think it’s very important to have a place to work.”
–William Goldman, Creative Screenwriting, Sept./Oct. 2001

“I know my books are read, but I’m the guy who sits in his underwear in front of the computer all day. People forget that. That’s how I spend my days for four years in a row. I’m just sitting here in my underwear trying to write a book.”
–Tim O’Brien, Identity Theory interview (2002)

“I think I have a lot of patience for drudgery. I think it was John Gregory Dunne who said that writing a novel is like laying pipe, just laying a lot of pipe. If you can’t make yourself sit still for that, then you can’t do it. You can’t rely on inspiration. I don’t even believe in inspiration. I just believe in working.”
–David Long, quoted in Writers Ask (2005)

“No one can give you the magic bullet that, once fired, will make you a writer. Writing is like anything else: the more you do it, the better you get at it.”
–Tim Cahill, in Don George’s, Travel Writing (2013)

“It is the delusions endemic to bad writers and bad writing that need to be destroyed. Here are a few: Writing well will get you girls, or boys, or both. Writing well will make you happy. Fame and wealth are good writing’s expected rewards. Writing for a living is somehow nobler than what most people do. What needs to be reinforced is the idea that good writing — solid, honest, entertaining, beautiful good writing — is simultaneously the reward, the challenge, and the goal.”
–Tom Bissell, in Magic Hours (2012)