From her Boyer lecture (available for download here)
Writing may aspire to art, but it begins as craft. Words are stones, and the book is a wall. You choose each stone with consideration, you place it with effort. Sometimes, you find just the right stone- the right shape and heft- for that difficult niche, and the effect is beautiful and satisfying. Your wall has gone up straight and true.
Other days, you pick up one stone and then another, and none of them is right. You try it, it will not fit. Frustrated, you jam it in anyhow. The effect is unsightly, the balance precarious. You come back the next day and you cannot bear to look at it. You bring in the backhoe and knock it over. The important thing is the effort. There can be no day without lifting stones.
And after enough days, if you have sweated enough, scraped enough skin off your hands, been patient and diligent with your craft, unsparing in use of the backhoe, you will, in the end, have a wall. And it may even be a beautiful wall that will last for a hundred years.
(Reported in The Age, 10 December 2011)