An Extra Dose of Compassion

“I mean, when you’re like on your sixth year of a novel, it’s real easy—and you’ve taught a student in a workshop and they’ll write a novel in six months—it’s not unimaginable that you’ll blame yourself. A friend of mine said something that was helpful for me and pushed me through this. Every time you write a new book, even if it’s your first book, the hard part isn’t writing it. The hard part is becoming that person you have to become to finish the book. And usually what you need to finish a book is not more talent or more workshops or more criticism. Usually what you need to finish your book is an extra dose of compassion, not just simply to connect to your characters—that helps. But usually the compassion that you need to connect to your characters is first modeled whether you’re compassionate to yourself.”

Junot Diaz