Gertrude Stein speaks (from an interview with John Hyde Preston):
“You will write,” she said, “if you will write without thinking of the result in terms of a result, but think of the writing in terms of discovery, which is to say that creation must take place between the pen and the paper, not before in a thought or afterwards in a recasting. Yes, before in a thought, but not in careful thinking. It will come if it is there and if you will let it come, and if you have anything you will get a sudden creative recognition. You won’t know how it was, even what it is, but it will be creation if it came out of the pen and out of you and not out of an architectural drawing of the thing you are doing. Technique is not so much a thing of form or style as the way that form or style came and how it can come again. Freeze your fountain and you will always have the frozen water shooting into the air and falling and it will be there to see oh, no doubt about that but there will be no more coming. I can tell how important it is to have that creative recognition. You cannot go into the womb to form the child; it is there and makes itself and comes forth whole and there it is and you have made it and have felt it, but it has come itself and that is creative recognition. Of course you have a little more control over your writing than that; you have to know what you want to get; but when you know that, let it take you and if it seems to take you off the track don’t hold back, because that is perhaps where instinctively you want to be and if you hold back and try to be always where you have been before, you will go dry.
“The thing for the serious writer to remember,” she said, “is that he is writing seriously and is not a salesman. If the writer and the salesman are born in the same man, it is lucky for both of them, but if they are not, one is sure to kill the other when you force them together.”
“What happens to American writers? The trouble is a simple one,” she said. “They become writers. They cease being creative men and soon they find that they are novelists or critics or poets or biographers, and they are encouraged to be one of those things because they have been very good in one performance or two or three, but that is silly. When a man says, ‘I am a novelist,’ he is simply a literary shoemaker.