The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.
There are many, many types of books in the world, which makes good sense, because there are many, many types of people, and everybody wants to read something different.
I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.
First, you get the idea. It may germinate for a long time or it just pops into your head. And then you work out a structure. And when you feel confident enough, you start to write. And you have to allow yourself the liberty of writing poorly. You have to get the bulk of it done, and then you start to refine it. You have to put down less than marvelous material just to keep going to whatever you think the end is going to be—which may be something else altogether by the time you get there.
Only half of writing is saying what you mean. The other half is preventing people from reading what they expected you to mean.
—James Richardson, #39 in “Vectors: Forty-five Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays” from The Best American Poetry 2001 edited by Robert Hass (Scribner Poetry, 2001)
I dug a hole inside my heart to put you in your grave. At this point it was you and me, and mama didn’t raise no slave. You took my face in both your hands and looked me in the eye and I went down with such a force that in your grave I lay.
I am simply a ‘book drunkard’. Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.
It is not enough merely to love literature, if one wishes to spend one’s life as a writer. It is a dangerous undertaking on the most primitive level. For, it seems to me, the act of writing with serious intent involves enormous personal risk. It entails the ongoing courage for self-discovery. It means one will walk forever on the tightrope, with each new step presenting the possibility of learning a truth about oneself that is too terrible to bear.