I love this quote about writing a novel, from a Powell's Bookstore interview with Brady Udall:
When you read a book, and it's good and you love it and you're just amazed by it, it feels like everything was with intent. It seems like the writer had this amazing ability. I think people who aren't writers don't understand this, and writers don't really advertise this very much. But most of it's just bumbling around and making mistakes. You happen on something, and think, "Oh, this works. Okay." Then you throw something else out, and it's just this chaos that eventually you wrestle into order. Most of it's what I would call mistakes or errors of judgment that turn out well somehow. When I look back, even when I was close to finishing the book, I thought I could never make this work. But somehow I found a way.
Man, that gives me hope!