Writing Only Ever Begins Badly

Posted on 10 August 2012

In memory of David Rakoff, let’s listen to his thoughts on writing and why it only gets harder:

“Writing only ever begins badly, and you have to sit and tolerate yourself long enough to grind out a shitty draft. And unlike cooking, where you basically put together a meal from palatable ingredients, what you have to essentially do is reverse-engineer something edible from rotting, stinky, slimy, moldy food. And that can be hard. And it’s also so counter to the trajectory of every other human task, because as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better at everything else. We all do. I have not gotten better at writing.”

3 responses to Writing Only Ever Begins Badly

  • Sarah W says:

    I like this—it’s strangely comforting.

    To paraphrase a couple of people: I love having written, and there’s no other possible way to have written than to write.

  • Teri says:

    Like Sarah says, this is strangely comforting. And so very honest.

    On another writerly note, I just saw that Fareed Zakariah is on temporary leave from The New York Times because he PLAGIARIZED his recent piece on Gun Control. And this, right after seeing that Jonah Lehrer’s IMAGINE (which I read and liked back in June) is also full of fake Bob Dylan quotes, and he has been fired from The New Yorker.

    I’m so sad about writers today.

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