This morning I came across an article in Marie Claire which had been shared on facebook. It’s by author, Merritt Tierce, whose first novel, Love Me Back, was published to huge critical acclaim in 2014.
I’d recommend reading the whole article but in brief, she explains how after selling her first book she gave up working to become a full-time writer. Only now, two years later, she has not written a second book. Her main emotion seems to be anger.
I had mixed feelings about her difficulties after reading the article. Some of her problems might well be self-inflicted. I feel like she is more concerned about making money than about writing. But she’s clearly talented. And struggling. And for those things I very much hopes she can find her way through this.
Also this morning, I came across another article on one of my favourite websites, Brain Pickings. This focused on what Jennifer Egan (whose novel Welcome to the Goon Squad I just loved) had to say about the ‘writing, the trap of approval and the most important discipline for aspiring writers’.
Merritt Tierce should read that article! Here’s a two of my favourite Jennifer Egan quotes, from the Brain Picking article.
“The attention and approval I’ve been getting for Goon Squad — the very public moments of winning the Pulitzer and the other prizes — is exactly the opposite of the very private pleasure of writing. And it’s dangerous. Thinking that I’ll get this kind of love again, that getting it should be my goal, would lead me to creative decisions that would undermine me and my work.”
“Exercising is a good analogy for writing. If you’re not used to exercising you want to avoid it forever. If you’re used to it, it feels uncomfortable and strange not to. No matter where you are in your writing career, the same is true for writing. Even fifteen minutes a day will keep you in the habit.”
Gah! Exercise. Such good advice. So healthy. And yes… so true.