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The concentration of a small child at play is analogous to the concentration of the artist of any discipline. In real play, which is real concentration, the child is not only outside time, he is outside himself. He has thrown himself completely into whatever it is that he is doing. A child playing a game, building a sand castle, painting a picture, is completely in what he is doing. His self-consciousness is gone; his consciousness is wholly focused outside himself.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
A Circle of Quiet, ch. 1, sec. 3 (1972)
Added on 14-May-24 | Last updated 14-May-24
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There is something laughable about the sight of authors who enjoy the rustling folds of long and involved sentences: they are trying to cover up their feet.

[Man hat Etwas zum Lachen, diese Schriftsteller zu sehen, welche die faltigen Gewänder der Periode um sich rauschen machen: sie wollen so ihre Füsse verdecken.]

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Gay Science [Die fröhliche Wissenschaft], Book 4, § 282 (1882) [tr. Kaufmann (1974)]

Also known as La Gaya Scienza, The Joyful Wisdom, or The Joyous Science.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

It is something laughable to see those writers who make the folding robes of their periods rustle around them: they want to cover their feet.
[tr. Common (1911)]

There is something laughable about those writers who make the folded drapery of their period rustle around them; they want to hide their feet.
[tr. Hill (2018)]

Added on 3-May-24 | Last updated 3-May-24
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Once you become self-conscious, there is no end to it; once you start to doubt, there is no room for anything else.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 5 (1963)
Added on 27-Jan-22 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
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You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.

Will Self (b. 1961) English author, journalist, television personality
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)
Added on 12-Nov-14 | Last updated 12-Nov-14
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Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face. As soon as one is aware of being “somebody,” to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his overanimation. One can either see or be seen.

John Updike (1932-2009) American writer
Self-Consciousness: Memoirs, ch. 6 (1989)
Added on 28-Aug-12 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
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