Dani Shapiro on writing and scale and careers:
“Solotaroff wondered where all the talented young writers he had known or published when he was first editing New American Review had gone. Only a few had flourished. Some, he speculated, had ended up teaching, publishing occasionally in small journals. But most had just . . . given up. ‘It doesn’t appear to be a matter of talent itself,’ he wrote. ‘Some of the most natural writers, the ones who seemed to shake their prose or poetry out of their sleeves, are among the disappeared. As far as I can tell, the decisive factor is what I call endurability: that is, the ability to deal effectively with uncertainty, rejection, and disappointment, from within as well as from without.’
“… my internal life as a writer has been a constant battle with the small, whispering voice (well, sometimes it shouts) that tells me I can’t do it. This time, the voice taunts me, you will fall flat on your face. Every single piece of writing I have ever completed — whether a novel, a memoir, an essay, short story or review — has begun as a wrestling match between hopelessness and something else, some other quality that all writers, if they are to keep going, must possess.”
More than a bit of cane-thumping follows, with many of the same arguments about publishing’s newly fallen state being made that I remember from 20 years ago. But amid that, the author’s point about writers needing to be willing to struggle and persist and fail, and most of all resist the need for, even expectation of, the instant score–when every overnight success is so quickly spread and shared–are well taken.
(Link via tltrent.)