Be Ruthless About Your Work

If you’re not ruthless about your work, you can’t be an artist of interest. Once something crystallizes, you have to be ruthless about presenting it; it doesn’t matter who gets hurt, starting with yourself. Your message in the ear of the reader is going to be worth the damage that’s done. You’ve got to be impersonal; you can’t look back. If, on the other hand, you go in the other direction and start thinking, “Will writing about this experience hurt me?”—well, then, you’re a bad writer, the kind who spends his life humping for The New Yorker. You spend your life hurting other people—not yourself.