[T]he only place they [your ideas] can germinate and grow is on the page. – Stephen Koch, The Modern Library’s Writer’s Workshop

If you are struggling with what you should be writing, look at your scraps. Encoded there are the times and subjects that you should be grappling with as a writer. – Betsy Lerner

Beginning a book is unpleasant. I’m entirely uncertain about the character and the predicament, and a character in his predicament is what I have to begin with. […] I often have to write a hundred pages or more before there’s a paragraph that’s alive. – Philip Roth

So don’t try to take control of your idea too early. Begin by letting it take control of you. You will be needing all your capacities for organization and judgment and mastery soon enough. For now, let whatever has stirred inside you gain strength. – Stephen Koch, The Modern Library’s Writer’s Workshop

But be careful. If you are like me, your first instinct will be to try to “take control” of a new idea, to assert yourself, to “turn this into something.” Yet at this early stage, it may be a mistake to treat your idea too aggressively. – Stephen Koch, The Modern Library’s Writer’s Workshop

The whole process of writing, from first to last, requires that you alternate steadily between a passive, open, daydreaming intuitiveness, followed by workedout, thought-through, fully developed acts of judgment and control. – Stephen Koch, The Modern Library’s Writer’s Workshop