This quote from Balzac's Cousin Bette jumped off the page. It's from a section when the narrator considers the work habits and discipline of a sculptor named Wenceslas Steinbock and clearly finds them wanting. It's also interesting in light of Balzac's legendary, caffeine-fueled marathon writing sessions, almost as if he were talking to or defending himself:
Perpetual work is the law of art, as it is the law of life, for art is
idealized creation. Hence great artists and perfect poets wait neither
for commission nor for purchasers. They are constantly creating
--to-day, to-morrow, always. The result is the habit of work, the
unfailing apprehension of the difficulties which keep them in close
intercourse with the Muse and her productive forces. Canova lived in
his studio, as Voltaire lived in his study; and so must Homer and
Phidias have lived."
And this was not a case of do what I say, not what I do. Balzac's lifetime output: ninety-two novels, novelettes and stories.