Writing Can Be a Dramatic Pursuit

Writing can be a very dramatic pursuit, full of catastrophes and disasters and emotion and attempts that fail. My path as a writer became much more smooth when I learned that, when things aren’t going well, to regard my struggles as curious, not tragic…. We have this very German, romantic idea that if you’re not in pain, and if you’re not causing pain by making your art, then you’re not really doing it right. I’ve always questioned that.… I mean, listen to the language we use to talk about creative process: “Open up your vein and bleed.” “Kill your darlings.” I always want to weep when people speak about a project and say: “I think I finally broke its back.” That is a really fucked-up relationship you have with your work! You’re trying to crack its spine? No wonder you’re so stressed out! You’ve made this into battlefield! We should know enough about the world to realize that anything that you fight fights you back.