Yesterday I posted about Dinty W. Moore’s new book Crafting the Personal Essay, a very inspiring book for any writer interested in creative nonfiction. I had the opportunity to ask Moore a few questions. Here’s a sneak peak (check out the complete interview on WritersDigest.com).
How do you view the role of the personal essay in today’s literary environment?
I am tempted to say that the personal essay is more important than ever – many blogs are made up of daily personal essays, for instance – but the truth is, the personal essay has been an important part of the literary scene for centuries, and remains important, and will remain important. It is the artist’s job to delve down into the subject in search of insight and enlightenment, and like the poem, like the short story, the personal essay invites just such exploration.
What’s the worst kind of mistake that new writers, freelancers, or book authors can make?
Too often, in my opinion, beginning writers focus on what point they want to make, what the message will be in their writing, the “theme” or “thesis,” whereas the seasoned and successful writers that I know are always after what they can discover. Being too sure of what you want to say from the outset can be a bad thing in writing – you just end up re-stating the obvious.
What are your thoughts on achieving writing success?
Allow yourself a few minutes here and there to dream about fame, book tours, TV appearances, riches and that stone house on the craggy coast of Maine, but don’t spend more than a few minutes on that dream. That’s not writing.
If you want to be a writer, you have to love to write, love revision, love shaping sentences. You have to adore words and the endless possibilities of words in combination. You have to know in your heart that even if no one ever read a word of what you have written, you would still do it, for yourself, because the process, the practice, is thrilling and inescapable.