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 in again.

—Oscar Wilde

Easy reading is damn hard writing.

—Nathaniel Hawthorne

I don’t want to go on about this too much, but there is a passage in each of those books which I found almost impossible to write and then harder and harder to rewrite. I hope never to have to look at those passages again.

– Colm Toibin

The very process of putting words on paper is an extremely laborious process. It is often very painful, involving a great deal of intellectual and emotional stress

– William Styron

Writing is extremely difficult for me and I’m never quite sure about it. I feel no mastery of it at all, I’m afraid… with my own stuff I am enormously cruel and throw a good deal of it away… I can rarely reread anything I’ve written with pleasure once it’s in print; the problem is that I can always see how I could have done it better. I think it is the French writer, Verlain, who says that a work is never completed, it is abandoned.

– George Plimpton

Block. It puts some writers down for months. It puts some writers down for life. A not always brief or minor form of it mutes all writers from the outset of every day…  You are working on a first draft and small wonder you’re unhappy. If you lack confidence in setting one word after another and sense that you are stuck in a place from which you will never be set free, if you feel sure that you will never make it and were not cut out to do this, if your prose seems stillborn and you completely lack confidence, you must be a writer. If you say you see things differently and describe your efforts positively, if you tell people that you “just love to write,” you may be delusional.

– John McPhee


‘Nuff said.