Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory. Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book 10 Chapter 3.
The art of rhetoric has a great dependence on writing. Quintilian emphasizes the usefulness of care in writing. “We must write...as carefully and as much as we can…[because]improvement of the mind, acquired from more than mere superficial cultivation, pours forth the fruits of stud in richer abundance and retains them with greater fidelity” (Quintilian X.3.2). Careful writing enables the speaker to have a stock of words and patterns to use (Quintilian X.3.3). The exercise of working with words will build ability.
Quintilian asks “how and what we ought principally to write” (Quintilian X.3.5). He recommends working slowly and carefully, being sensitive to rhythm and impact. Repetitive practice, even writing the same thing after a break, is of great value (Quintilian X.3.6). It builds a memory of our best work. Revision and care will build confidence. Speed will follow (Quintilian X.3.9). “By writing quickly, we are not brought to write well, but...by writing well we are brought to write quickly” (Quintilian X.3.10).
Quintilian goes on to discuss those who are pleased with all their work and those who find fault with all their work. Both are defects. We do best when we seek to improve but are eventually satisfied (Quintilian X.3.15).
Though the work of writing well demands concentration and some privacy Quintilian notes that we may not always have ideal conditions (Quintilian X.3.22). Peace, concentration, and a healthy balance of rest and activity will aid the writer (Quintilian X.3.26). However, it is altogether possible to discipline the mind for concentration even in distracting settings (Quintilian X.3.28).
Quintilian suggests a writing medium such as a wax tablet with blank space. It is easy to erase and make insertions (Quintilian X.3.31).