"I’m a full-time believer in writing habits...You may be able to do without them if you have genius but most of us only have talent and this is simply something that has to be assisted all the time by physical and mental habits or it dries up and blows away…Of course you have to make your habits in this conform to what you can do. I write only about two hours every day because that’s all the energy I have, but I don’t let anything interfere with those two hours, at the same time and the same place."
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
"What the fiction writer will discover, if he discovers anything at all, is that he himself cannot move or mold reality in the interests of abstract truth. The writer learns, perhaps more quickly than the reader, to be humble in the face of what-is. What-is is all he has to do with; the concrete is his medium; and he will realize eventually that fiction can transcend its limitations only by staying within them."
"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
E. L. Doctorow
"All you have to do is write one true sentence."
"Who knows how words are formed?"
"Poetry is a pheasant disappearing into the brush."
“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world."
"Do not hate or fear the artist in yourselves . . . Honor and love him . . . do not try to possess him. Trust him as nobly as you trust tomorrow. Only the artist in yourself is more truthful than the night."
e. e. cummings
"The artist should not be vexed by human habits or follies. She should be able to lift herself into the clear firmament of creation where the world is not."
"Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands?
Because it is up to you. There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any
page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment. "The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist
is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one's own most intimate sensitivity. Anne Truitt, the sculptor, said this. Thoreau
said it another way: know your own bone. "Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life. . . . Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and
gnaw at it still.
Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What
would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality . . ."