One must be two persons when one writes… The great problem is to translate what one feels into what one wants others to feel. We call a writer bad when he expresses himself in reference to an inner context the reader cannot know. The mediocre writer is thus led to say anything he pleases.
In a sentiment James Baldwin would echo in his advice on writing, insisting that “beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance,” Camus observes that all creative endeavor demands of us “a certain constancy of soul, and a human and literary knowledge of sacrifice.” He writes:
To someone who asked Newton how he had managed to construct his theory, he could reply: “By thinking about it all the time.” There is no greatness without a little stubbornness.
Great novels… prove the effectiveness of human creation. They convince one that the work of art is a human thing, never human enough, and that its creator can do without dictates from above. Works of art are not born in flashes of inspiration but in a daily fidelity.
Syndicated fromThe Marginalian.Maria Popova is a cultural curator and curious mind at large, who also writes for Wired UK, The Atlantic and Design Observer, and is the founder and editor in chief of The Marginalian (which offers a free weekly newsletter).