Those two pieces of advice have shaped my career as a writer and a producer of books for other people.
It’s an incremental, iterative journey. You don’t magically arrive. Ever. You just strive to get closer.
Because it’s hard to sit there and write a book. Really really hard. Someone should write a book how hard it is.
Because today, in this era, having too much in your plate is quite consuming. That consumes your own sanity, your own self-trust, and your own free will.
“Powerful people,” he writes, “impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.” I think of this law when I am about to tweet, when I am considering an email, when I am coming up with marketing materials. Less is almost always more.
Louis L’Amour didn’t publish his first novel until he was 43 years old. Almost 20 years after he started writing on a daily basis.
Willing to work for free to prove yourself is a great little distinction. But it’s worthless by itself.
In 1969, when I was subject to the draft and marching against the war, guys like Charles and Kevin were only 11 or 12, and there’s a big difference between us. I don’t think they perceive me as an older person, though they kid me about it.
To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.
While that sounds discouraging, I really feel responsible for underscoring what a mess the U.S. education system is right now, from top to bottom. Academic creative writing is, unfortunately, even more easy prey for all manner of administrative malice, because few creative writing program directors have learned (been disciplined) to effectively communicate their worth.