Thursday, August 28, 2008

Out of the Woods (Notes from a Writing Retreat)

So in spite of the fact that someone put a rather important convention and tons of enticing coverage smack in the middle of this writing retreat I'm on, I've finally had a little breakthrough. After a few days of a hellish start out here in writer's paradise, I'm settling in on my chapter and slowly making headway. The whole experience has got me thinking about how fragile one's sense of progress can be when one has chosen, for whatever fercockte (Yiddish for nutty) idea, to be a writer.

For anyone who's ever gotten stuck in the middle of a writing project--meaning, in other words, anyone who seriously writes--a few upbeat quotes to share this morning:
"Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you – as if you haven't been told a million times already – that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching." -Harlan Ellison

"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." --Thomas Mann

"All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." --George Orwell

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again." --Oscar Wilde

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." -~E.L. Doctorow

Hey wait--all the writing-is-hell quotes I could find were by guys. Got a favorite writing-is-hell quote by a woman? I know they're out there. Please feel free to illuminate us and share in comments.


Deborah Siegel said...

Ok, I'll start us off :) Just found one, sort of, from -- guess who -- Sylvia Plath:

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." ~Sylvia Plath

Anonymous said...

The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him.
- Rachel Carson

Deborah Siegel said...

Ooh -- I love it!