"A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper."

E. B. White, echoing Tchaikovsky and adding to our running archive of famous advice on writing.

This quote was said by famous children’s author, E.B. White. We all develop our own writing processes and rituals, some are basic and some are very intricate and slightly tedious. In an article about E.B. White’s writing process he explains how he adapts to certain “distractions” and what works best for him.  “I never listen to music when I’m working. I haven’t that kind of attentiveness, and I wouldn’t like it at all. On the other hand, I’m able to work fairly well among ordinary distractions. My house has a living room that is at the core of everything that goes on: it is a passageway to the cellar, to the kitchen, to the closet where the phone lives. There’s a lot of traffic. But it’s a bright, cheerful room, and I often use it as a room to write in, despite the carnival that is going on all around me. A girl pushing a carpet sweeper under my typewriter table has never annoyed me particularly, nor has it taken my mind off my work, unless the girl was unusually pretty or unusually clumsy. My wife, thank God, has never been protective of me, as, I am told, the wives of some writers are. In consequence, the members of my household never pay the slightest attention to my being a writing man — they make all the noise and fuss they want to. If I get sick of it, I have places I can go. A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” I absolutely love his advice and find that I need to become better about trying to write more even when it is not somewhere that I feel is not right for my writing environment. I think one the biggest struggles that I have, and maybe other young writers, is deciphering what constitutes as a distraction and what is tolerable for a productive writing session. Idea’s can come as quickly as they can fade and learning to write in many different environments is a huge advantage. As writer who want to write more and well we need to stop thinking of what the ideal writing space or time is and learn to write in less than ideal places in order to become better.



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