Your Own Ineptitude

Smith-Corona Typewriter
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Haris Awang via Compfight
“I sometimes think that I’m just one of the people who comes here every day and does it, even though I don’t feel like it, even though it’s difficult and I feel stupid and brain-dead and unequal to the task … I have days that are complete losses. It’s awful. I just sit and stare at the screen and nothing happens; hours go by and I write down a line and delete it, then write down another line and save it to delete tomorrow. And that’s it. That was the writing day. I have known writers over the years, enormously talented, who are so self-conscious about it, who are so terrified of ever writing a bad sentence, that they can’t write anything at all. I think a certain fearlessness in the face of your own ineptitude is a useful tool.”

Over Your Head

“A writer should always feel like he’s in over his head. That’s part of what makes good writing compelling–the sense that as readers we’re in the company of a writer of vast ambitions, who is always trying to do more than he or she is technically capable of.

“And there, really, resides the pleasure that comes from writing … It’s like what runners feel running the 500-yard dash, making good time and feeling pushed slightly beyond their limits, which is great, and feeling at the same time that although they’re able to do something remarkable–they can run faster than almost anyone alive–they should nevertheless have done a little better, gone a little faster. They’ll try that much harder tomorrow. There may be, in the end, no happiness quite so potent as the anticipation of greater happiness still to come.”