The difference between the almost right word

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.  ~Mark Twain, letter to George Bainton, 1888 (Thanks, Andrew & Barbara), variation of Josh Billings’ "Don’t mistake vivacity for wit, thare iz about az much difference az thare iz between lightning and a lightning bug."

The writer writes in order to teach

The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anticlimax.  ~Alfred Kazin, Think, February 1963LCD; In a very real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself; to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratifications, is a curious anticlimax. ~Alfred Kazin, DR, LCE

It is necessary to write if the

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.  How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?  For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone.  That is where the writer scores over his fellows:  he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.  ~Vita Sackville-West

Sleep on your writing take a walk

Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially. ~A. Bronson AlcottConcord Days, April: Scholarship. April 28, 1872; CTO

The good writing of any age has

The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis, and we’d have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads.  ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958LCD