Everything is so much clearer once a world is framed. Maybe it sounds crazy, but with writing it’s infinity that is limiting, and the limited that allows for the truly infinite. Once all those elements are in place in a story, the brain is truly freed up to imagine without end.
…most of the people whose writing I believe will be read in a hundred years are plagued with extreme self-doubt, constant suffering and self-loathing, and are, at their most relaxed, generally fraught and worried.
What I’m trying to say is that a lot that lies behind being able to live the writing life is psychological, and wrapped up in ideas of self-definition. So after you’ve trained yourself to do the work, that is, once you’ve got the sitzfleisch, and the focus, and the skills, and a sharpened pencil, and you’ve pushed a cabinet up against the fridge, and thrown your cell phone out the window, and yanked your router from the wall, there is the issue—and, I promise you, more than any other writing issue, this is the one—of engaging with the work and all that floods into your head that is related to that work, but not truly of the work.” —Nathan Englander on creating constraints when writing (in the New Yorker)
btw, Nathan has a Tumblr now.