Aim for the Chopping Block
Who will teach me to write? a reader wanted to know.
The page, the page, that eternal blackness, the blackness of eternity which you cover slowly, affirming time’s scrawl as a right and your daring as necessity; the page, which you cover woodenly, ruining it, but asserting your freedom and power to act, acknowledging that you ruining everything you touch but touching nevertheless, because acting is better than being here in mere opacity; the page, which you cover slowly with the crabbed thread of your gut; the page in the purity of its possibilities; the page of your death, against which you pit such flawed excellences as you can muster with all your life’s strength: the page will teach you how to write. There is another way of saying this.
Aim for the chopping block. If you aim for the wood, you will have nothing. Aim past the wood, aim through the wood; aim for the chopping block.
[Annie Dillard, The Writing Life]