When Rory find and reads the Old Man's manuscript, the first page shown on-screen is actually an excerpt from Ernest Hemingway's memoir, "A Moveable Feast", discussing one of his early short stories called "Up in Michigan". Nearly all of Hemingway's other early works were lost because the suitcase his wife had packed them in was stolen from a train in Paris when she left in unattended for a few minutes; the Old Man's story clearly parallels this event.
When Danielle sits at Clay's desk, she picks up a baseball and he tells her that that specific ball had been once hit by Babe Ruth. At the beginning of the film we see what may be the same baseball on Rory's desk, just behind his laptop. This could be a hint that Clay had used his latest novel ("The Words") as a means of confessing what he himself had done in his youth.