"I don't in the least know how to set to work to write, and I begin by expressing only the hundredth part of my ideas after infinite gropings. ...For entire days I have polished and repolished a paragraph without accomplishing anything. I feel like weeping at times. You ought to pity me!" Gustave Flaubert to George Sand.
The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters, free on Google Books. The letters are beautiful, too.
Interesting that Flaubert compares the novelist to God: "I even think the novelist hasn't the right to express his opinion on any subject whatsoever. Has the good God ever uttered it, his opinion?"
"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield