"A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble."
Politics and the English Language (1946)
"I sit in front of the computer, but I often have a pen in my hand. Word processing seems to me a blessing, a vast improvement on the mechanical clattering of typewriters. Close, indeed, to mental processes, in the sense that passages, pages, chapters, whole novels are held in a memory. I like the special, privileged nature of prose that’s not yet been printed out, held in some special space that resembles a private thought, or a secret.
So what’s the pen for?
Sometimes thoughts come in a rush, and I need to jot down five or six key words. It’s easy to lose the idea of a whole passage if you don’t get the markers down quickly..."
Ian McEwan on Books That Have Helped Shape His Novels