Why We Write

Why We Write is a must read for writers!

This book, edited by Meredith Maran, presents interviews with 20 acclaimed authors on why and how they write. In case you can’t read the names on the cover, these authors span genres and styles:
Why We Write, edited by Meredith Maran, photo of book cover
Why We Write
  • Isabel Allende
  • David Baldacci
  • Jennifer Egan
  • James Frey
  • Sue Grafton
  • Sara Gruen
  • Kathryn Harrison
  • Gish Jen
  • Sebastian Junger
  • Mary Karr
  • Michael Lewis
  • Armistead Maupin
  • Terry McMillan
  • Rick Moody
  • Walter Mosley
  • Susan Orlean
  • Ann Patchett
  • Jodi Picoult
  • Jane Smiley
  • Meg Wolitzer
As Maran writes in the introduction, “When the work is going well, and the author is transported, fingers flying under the watchful eye of the muse, she might wonder, as she takes her first sip of the coffee she poured and forgot about hours ago, ‘How did I get so lucky, that this is what I get to do?’”


Alternatively, “And then there are the less rapturous days or weeks or decades, when the muse is injured on the job and leaves the author sunk to the armpits in quicksand, and every word she types or scribbles is wrong, wrong, wrong, and she cries out to the heavens, ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’”


Meredith Maran, editor of Why We Write, writing on her laptop
Meredith Maran, Photo by Lesley Bohm
As the interviews show, the creme de la creme of the writing world fly to the same heights and plunge to the same depths as every other writer.


Besides insights into the writing life of eminent writers, Moran gives us their vital statistics, list of collected works, and their Wisdom for Writers. So if you want to know who translates Isabel Allende’s books (Margaret Sayers Peden), how long David Baldacci practiced law (9 years), or when Jodi Picoult was born (May 19, 1966), look no more. Yes, you could find that information online, if you thought to look for it, but here it is, whether you knew you wanted to know or not.


Why We Write Words of Wisdom

Here are some of the words of wisdom I most took to heart:
"Remember to play when you’re working." Armistead Maupin, Why We Write
Armistead Maupin
"It’s worth the work to find the precise word that will create a feeling or describe a situation." Isabel Allende, Why We Write
Isabel Allende
"Thanks to e-books, publishers aren’t necessary any more." James Frey, Why We Write
James Frey
"Figuring out how to get an agent, how to find a publisher, how to pitch, how to network—all of this is beside the point until you’ve mastered the craft and honed your skills." Sue Grafton, Why We Write
Sue Grafton
"Don’t be afraid to make money writing the kinds of things you’d never write for the fun of it." Ann Patchett, Why We Write
Ann Patchett
And so much more! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
Why We Write, back cover
Why We Write

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