Fog everywhere. Fog online and in print, fog exhaled in television studios where time is anyway too short for truth. Fog in the Wall Street executive suites. Fog in the regulating agencies that couldn’t see the signals flashing danger in shadow banking. Fog in the evasions in Flint, Michigan, while its citizens drank poisoned water. Fog in the ivory towers where the arbiters of academia all over the world are conned into publishing volumes of computer-generated garbage. Fog machines in Madison Avenue offices where marketers invent dictionaries of fluff so that a swimming cap is sold as a “hair management system.” Fog in pressure groups that camouflage their real purpose with euphemism; fog from vested interests aping the language of science to muddy the truth about climate change. Fog in the Affordable Care Act and in reporting so twisted at birth it might as well have been called the Affordable Scare Act. Fog in the U.S. Supreme Court, where five judges in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2001) sanctified secret bribery as freedom of speech. But never come there fog too thick, never come there mud and mire too deep, never come there bureaucratic waffle so gross as to withstand the clean invigorating wind of a sound English sentence. —Harold Evans, introduction to his book Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters

Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart–your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it’s why you were born. —Anne Lamott, “Anne Lamott, Author, Writes Down Every Single Thing She Knows, as of Today”

Writing isn't hard work, it's a nightmare. Coal mining is hard work. This is a nightmare. . . . There's a tremendous uncertainty that's built into the profession, a sustained level of doubt that supports you in some way. A good doctor isn't in a battle with his work. In most professions there's a beginning, a middle, and an end. With writing, it's always beginning again. Temperamentally, we need that newness. There is a lot of repetition in the work. In fact, one skill that every writer needs it the ability to sit still in the deeply uneventful business.—Philip Roth, from Reportings: Writings from The New Yorker

I always say that the way you write a novel is for the first 83 drafts you pretend that nobody is ever, ever going to read it.—Anne Tyler, "Attention Please, Anne Tyler Has Something to Say," The New York Times