I commend to you today’s Writer’s Almanac, which contains birthday notes on Booker Prize winner Kiran Desai, the youngest woman to win the Booker Prize.
She wrote and wrote and wrote, and one point had 1,500 pages of notes for her novel. … she hadn’t expected it to take eight years of her life to write the book … She was impoverished and filled with self-doubt … That second novel took her eight years of full-time writing, and it turned out to be a masterpiece, a complicated, multigenerational tale that explored all sorts of important contemporary issues, told as a brilliantly compelling story. And that novel, The Inheritance of Loss, published in 2006, won the Booker Prize.
Anybody out there writing full time? Well, that’s how you win the big prizes, kids. Keep the ass in the chair. I could have written five novels by now, with that simple method. Still, I like stick-to-it success stories. Sometimes. Other times, they just piss me off. They call on me to generate too much sympathy for irrelevance, or too much personal humility.
"Writing, for me, means humility. It’s a process that involves fear and doubt, especially if you’re writing honestly."
— Kiran Desai.