The Pain in the Process

John Hersey

To be a writer is to sit down at one’s desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone–just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again and once more, and over and over. It is to ring changes, not repeat, not fall onto a dead center.
(John Hersey, quoted in The Craft of Revision, by Donald Murray, Harcourt Brace, 1991)

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