Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction

Will Blythe, editor
Published in 1998
by Little, Brown

Edited by Will Blythe, this anthology gathers essays by twenty-six renowned writers offering their perspectives on what motivates them to write. With contributions from Mary Gaitskill, Denis Johnson, Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, David Foster Wallace, and Joy Williams, to name a few, each essay is as unique as the fiction they write. In Williams’s essay “Uncanny the Singing That Comes From Certain Husks,” the author discusses the transfigurative nature of the writing process: “Writers when they’re writing live in a spooky, clamorous silence, a state somewhat like the advanced stages of prayer but without prayer’s calming benefits.” In Wallace’s essay “The Nature of the Fun,” the prolific author writes: “You discover a tricky thing about fiction writing; a certain amount of vanity is necessary to be able to do it all, but any vanity above that certain amount is lethal.” Whether searching for solidarity or a new perspective on the creative process, this anthology of essays offers an invigorating reminder of why writers come to write in the first place.