Authors Zadie Smith & Jeffrey Eugenides Share Their Unique Approaches to Novel Writing

The Age-Old Question: How Does a Writer Write? Zadie Smith, author of Swing Time, White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, Changing My Mind, and NW, and Jeffrey Eugenides,...

The Age-Old Question: How Does a Writer Write?

Zadie Smith, author of Swing Time, White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, Changing My Mind, and NW, and Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex, and The Marriage Plot, chat about the pain and pleasure of the writing process.

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While one probably assumes that all writers spend hours at their desks pounding away on their keywords writing word after word, these two talented authors are quick to dispell this common myth. In fact, according to Smith, she is lucky if she’s able to get 500 words onto the page before the end of the day!

Another interesting little fact is that both these authors attend therapy regularly to help develop and calm their creative minds, as a way to talk through their professional anxieties and fears.

Later in the discussion, Eugenides cites the brilliant Shonda Rhimes who once said: “I write whatever I want and the only thing I worry about is that you have to get it right.”. This is a statement that helps to highlight the type of content that comes to a writer’s mind when they are creating a script, short story, or novel. Authors are often drawing on their life experiences or the experiences of those they’ve come to know, and that’s what makes some novels, like those written by Smith and Eugenides, so transportive and engaging.

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