Two quotations that struck me, from May Sarton's The House by the Sea:
is very shy, a sandy-haired, middle-aged man, who is recovering from
winning all the prizes last year ... I was quite amused to hear that he
feels silenced at this point."
This captures a situation
that sometimes happens to people after great worldly success: all that
connection with the external world makes the connection with the inner
self harder to find. But it doesn't have to be huge success to be
distracting. This can even happen with small triumphs, because it's more
about a mindset and an inner compass. A person can remain serene and
focused while winning the Nobel Prize, or can lose focus over a single
good review. It's a paradox of writing that we must strive to
communicate with others, while not worrying overly much about attention
or approval from those others!
Then there's this:
not that I work all day; it is that the work needs space around it.
Hurry and flurry break into the deep still place where I can remember
and sort out what I want to say ..."
I find this, too. An hour of
good solid writing may be preceded by two hours of what seems like
daydreaming, or a solitary walk. Something is working beneath the
surface when this happens; I'm reaching deeper layers of concentration. I
don't always have or need the luxury of all this time, however. When
I'm revising, I can usually slip right into the imaginary world of the
story. It's first drafting that requires this mental heavy lifting.