There's this quote:
My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying . . . one must ruthlessly suppress everything that is not concerned with the subject. If, in the first chapter, you say there is a gun hanging on the wall, you should make quite sure that it is going to be used further on in the story.
- Anton Chekhov
When in doubt, which is where you'll be living your life as a writer of all your work, short or long, write something simple and follow it out past knowing where it flows into the seductive havoc that always waits at the center of our endeavors.
- Ron Carlson
And this, excerpts from Franz Kafka's diaries, 1915:
January 20. The end of writing. When will it take me up again?
January 29. Again tried to write, virtually useless.
February 7. Complete standstill. Unending torments.
March 11. How time flies; another ten days and I have achieved nothing. It doesn't come off. A page now and then is sucessful, but I can't keep it up, the next day I am powerless.
March 23. Incapable of writing a line.
April 27. Incapable of living with people, of speaking. Complete immersion in myself, thinking of myself. Apathetic, witless, fearful. I have nothing to say to anyone--never.
To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled, and to trust that, that fulfillment will come, is quite possibly one of the most powerful "magic skills" that human beings are capable of. It has been noted by almost every ancient wisdom tradition.
- Elizabeth Gilbert
- Ethel Rohan