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Writing Quotes From Joyce Carol Oates in a Jeff Baker Oregonian Article

I kept an article about Joyce Carol Oates from an April 16, 2006 issue of The Oregonian by Jeff Baker. Here’s some quotes I liked. See what you think!

Young writers need to know that writing is work. It’s not something that can be done in a few hours. It takes much longer than that. You have to stay with it. When I look at something I wrote, I remember the trouble I had writing it.

I don’t write in any kind of fever. Not at all. A story that is 15 pages long is written paragraph by paragraph, scene by scene. I might start with the ending and work my way back to the beginning. It’s more like a mosaic, pieced together. When it’s working right, a story has a certain fluidity. That’s my ideal, to move it along like a stream.

I always get questions about my schedule and how productive I am. People think I’m productive, but I work so hard and so slowly. Anybody who worked 10 to 12 hours could be as productive, any normal, sane person. I can concentrate for that long because I have to, because I want to get it done.

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  • ML Gomes September 17, 2012, 11:14 pm

    When you are a “young” or new writer it
    may seem easy. It’s no different than telling them – just wait until you have
    kids. We think we know how to parent from the time we can talk. They won’t know
    how hard it is until they have their own kids. Telling them writing is hard likely won’t work. It’s only in the doing that they will learn that writing is not easy, writing well is
    even harder. If you love doing it you won’t mind the hard work. Like every
    thing you want to do well, you have to be dedicated, disciplined and stick with
    it until you get it right. Then it’s a joy.

  • christinakatz September 23, 2012, 12:09 pm

    Agreed, Mary Lou. 🙂