An extract from Literature in the Making by Joyce Kilmer (Harper & Brothers, 1917):
He looked at me rather quizzically. "I think," he said, with a smile, "that Flaubert was slow. What else is there to think? Of course he was a matchless workman. But if he spent half a day in hunting for one word, he was slow, that's all. He might have gone on writing and then have come back later for that inevitable word."
"But what do you think of Flaubert's method, as a method?" I asked. "Do you think that a writer who works with such laborious care is right?"
"It's not a question of right or wrong," said Mr. Chambers, "it's a question of the individual writer's ability and tendency. If a man can produce novels like those of Flaubert, by writing slowly and laboriously, by all means let him write that way. But it would not be fair to establish that as the only legitimate method of writing.
"Some authors always write slowly. With some of them it's like pulling teeth for them to get their ideas out on paper. It's the same way in painting. You may see half a dozen men drawing from the same model. One will make his sketch premier coup; another will devote an hour to his; another will work all day. They may be artists of equal ability. It is the result that counts, not the method or the time."
"And what is it that makes a man an artist, in pigments or in words?" I asked. "Do you believe in the old saying that the poet - the creative artist - is born and not made?"
"No," said Mr. Chambers, "I do not think that that is the truth. I think that with regard to the writer it is true to this extent, that there must exist, in the first place, the inclination to write, to express ideas in written words. Then the writer must have something to express really worthy of expression, and he must learn how to express it. These three things make the writer - the inclination to say something, the possession of something worth saying, and the knowledge of how to say it."
"And where does genius come in?" I asked.