I've spent a lot of time this week staring at a blank page.  There can be little more frustrating than knowing what you want to write but not finding the right way to put it on paper.  It doesn't happen when I'm writing non-fiction.  Then, I simply make a start and keep going until it's done.  Luckily, the April issue of Writing and Writers' News dropped through my letterbox, so I had an excuse to procrastinate - until I read the interview with R. J. Ellroy and the article about Robert Louis Stevenson, both of which gave me a metaphorical kick in the pants.  Here are a few quotes.

R. J. Ellroy on what makes a classic: "I... came to the conclusion that this was a book with a narrative so compelling you couldn't read it fast enough, yet written so beautifully you couldn't read it slowly enough.  And even as you were reading it, you had to force yourself to put it down because otherwise there would be none for tomorrow."

Quoting Moliere: "First we write for ourselves, then for our friends and, lastly, we write for money."

Quoting Richard Bach: "Professional writers are simply amateurs that didn't quit." and Salman Rushdie: "Writers are people who finish books."

And his own advice: "Just write.  With hard work and perseverence an ordinary talent can become an extraordinary one."

Robert Louis Stevenson: "Nobody had ever such pains to learn a trade as I had; but I slogged at it, day in, day out; and I frankly believe (thanks to my dire industry) I have done more with smaller gifts than almost any man of letters in the world."

Not only an inspiration but a rebuke.  Writers write, and even if I scribble pages and eventually use only a sentence, I should stop making excuses and get on with it!