“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.”
“It’s not that I’m so smart but I stay with the questions much longer.”
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
“If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, higher, the law of averages — not to mention the myth of Icarus — predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do, I want you to know this, remember this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.
Now, when you’re down there in the hole, it looks like failure. So this past year I had to spoon-feed those words to myself. And when you’re down in the hole, when that moment comes, it’s really O.K. to feel bad for a little while. Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost, but then here’s the key: Learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are. And then figure out what is the next right move. And the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional GPS that can tell you which way to go.”
“When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.”
“Somewhere someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer.”
“Everything you want also wants you.”