I don’t see writing as a communication of something already discovered, as “truths” already known. Rather, I see writing as a job of experiment. It’s like any discovery job; you don’t know what’s going to happen until you try it. — WILLIAM STAFFORD

Don’t tear up the page and start over again when you write a bad line — try to write your way out of it. Make mistakes and plunge on. . . . Writing is a means of discovery, always. — GARRISON KEILLOR

Writers obviously do not give birth to a text as a whole, but must work cumula- tively, focusing first on one thing, then on another. Writing therefore may seem to progress in a linear, step-by-step fashion. But in fact it almost always proceeds recursively, which means that writers return over and over again to ideas that they are trying to clarify or extend, or to gaps in their information or logic that they are trying to fill. Most writers plan and then revise their plans, draft and revise their drafts, write and read what they have written, and then write and revise some more. In this way, the experience of writing is less like marching in a straight line from first sentence to last and more like exploring an uphill trail with frequent switch- backs. It may appear that you are retracing old ground, but you are really rising to new levels as you learn the terrain.

It’s a matter of piling a little piece here and a little piece there, fitting them together, going on to the next part, then going back and gradually shaping the whole piece into something. — DAVE BARRY

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