Why I Write…with thanks to Paulo Coelho

As I launched my first ever novel – THE SPIRITS OF JADE – with family and friends on December 11th, I wondered why I had spent so much time and energy bringing it out into the world.  Why did I write it?  And how can I have the audacity to try to write a novel without having taking any official “writing courses.”  And then I read Paulo Coelho’s vision of writing in his new story “The Aleph”, and felt so much better.  Here is what he says…

         “Whenever I saw those literature courses at the university where I taught, it all seemed to me so….”       

        “Artificial?” I (Paulo) ask, completing his sentence.  “No one can learn to love by following a manual, and no one can learn to write by following a course.  I’m not telling you to seek out other writers but to find people with different skills from yourself, because writing is no different from any other activity done with joy and enthusiasm.”

         “What about writing a book about the last days of Nicholas the Second?”

        “It’s not a subject that really interests me.  It’s an extraordinary story, but for me, writing is, above all, about discoverning myself.  If I had to give you one piece of advice, it would be this: don’t be intimidated by other people’s opinions.  Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you really want to do.  Seek out people who aren’t afraid of making mistakes and who, therefore, do make mistakes.  Because of that, their work often isn’t recognized, but they are precisely the kind of people who change the world and, after many mistakes, do something that will transform their own community completely.”  (p. 83).



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