Who, What, When, Where, and Why: WHY (part two)


(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.

Pencil_tip_closeup_2-300x199Sara 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]

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