T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets:
…Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate - but there is no competition -
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
I’ve got great days when writing is fun and exciting and I walk down the street listening to characters argue in my head (and, I’m sure, make weird faces!). But that excitement never lasts long enough to finish anything. Writing for the long haul, for more than just my own entertainment, has to be a war, a ‘raid on the inarticulate.’ I’ve got to struggle through the mud, get up again when I slip, and not worry about saying what’s been said already. I can’t think of other writers as competition. The authors I admire are my allies, and we are fighting to communicate, to inspire, to enliven the world, together. The important thing is to try, and see where my stories take me, find what I’m meant to write. It’s maybe a sort of pessimistic quote, but I love it even when I’m discouraged.