(This post closes the series that summarizes an entire semester of Journalism 101.)
This series’ closing post is about why successful authors write. I hope you find these quotes encouraging, and you can relate to at least one of them, happy in the knowledge that you are not alone in your motivation.
Sara Gruen (Water For Elephants) “I would write even if I couldn’t make a living at it, because I can’t not write. I am amazed and delighted and still in a state of shock about the success of ‘Water For Elephants,’ but that’s not why I write. I do it for love. The rest is gravy.”
Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) “When I write a sentence of a paragraph or a chapter that’s good, I know it, and I know people are going to read it. That knowledge — Oh my God, I’m doing it, I’m doing this thing that works — it’s just exhilarating. Lots of times I fail at it. . . . But when it’s good . . . it’s like going on a date that’s going well. There’s an electricity to the process that’s exciting and incomparable to anything else.”
Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City) “Sometimes I write to explain myself to others. Thirty-four years ago I told my folks I was gay through the ‘Tales of the City’ character Michael Tolliver. . . . When Michael came out in a letter to his parents, my own parents were the ones who got the message.”
Terry McMillan (Waiting To Exhale) “I jump up in the morning. I can’t wait to go see what my characters are going to do today. I get wired up. When my character falls in love, I’m in love. When somebody’s heart is broken, or feels jubilation, I feel all of that.”
Rick Moody (The Ice Storm) “I always sort of thought I’d be a failure. I still sort of think I might be a failure. So just having a book out in the world makes me very happy. I didn’t much think, at first, about whether it was going to sell a lot of copies.”
So whether you’re afraid of failure, or in love with love, write on, my friends.
(quotes from Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do, by Meredith Maran)[subscribe2]