I heard this great interview with Dennis Lehane yesterday in the car. Check it out over at WBUR:
Radio Boston Lehane Interview
Lehane is the author of some great books, including Darkness Take My Hand, Shutter Island, and Mystic River.
What I really like about the interview is how brutally honest he is about the writing life. I’ve heard the advice before that if you can stop writing, you should. Because unless not writing makes you a miserable son of a bitch, it’s just not worth the frustration that comes with doing it. Lehane goes on to explain that the vast majority of writers don’t make any money, get rejected all the time, and suffer from wishing they could take back anything good they do publish and re-write it. He calls it a profession for sado-masochists.
And if all that weren’t enough to make you put your pen down, he says that the majority of what he writes doesn’t work, and doesn’t get published, but he has to try the ideas anyway, to find out if there’s something there. His advice to writers is: If you think you have the greatest idea that no one has ever thought of before… someone did think of it, but there’s a reason why they didn’t publish it. How hardcore is that? I love this guy.
For such a cynical interview, it gives me so much validation of what I’m doing, because I totally get it, and the psychosis of having to write just to find out if there’s a story and where it goes, even though most days I think I suck? How nice to hear from a successful kindred spirit that it comes with the territory and is a perfectly normal day on the job.