A Writer Is…

William Stafford, on “Writing,” has this to say:

A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.

This quotation appears in a book by Carol Burke and Molly Best Tinsley called The Creative Process, filled with exercises for writers they’ve taken from their own workshop for writers. They go on to write:

The perfect stanza or paragraph does not leap fully formed from the writer’s brain; rather it is the result of much experimentation–tightening and expansion, rewording and reordering, through draft after draft. (p. 6)

The writer might put it this way: I don’t know what I’ve got to say until it’s down on paper, but I can’t start getting it down on paper until I know what I’m going to say. (p. 7)