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Quotation of the Week: Leslea Newman

“[W]hy I think you need courage as a writer is that at every step of the way you need the courage to believe you have something to say, you need the courage to make this a priority in your life, because often there are the other people saying you need to get a job, or why are you wasting your time, or whoever’s voice is in your head, so you need courage for that. You need the courage to show your writing to someone else, whether it’s people in your writing group, or your spouse, or a potential agent, or a potential magazine editor. So then, you need the courage to keep going when your writing is turned down, as it probably will be—I don’t know any writer who hasn’t had that experience. And then, you need the courage once it’s accepted to put it out int he world, and hear what people think of it, you’ll need the courage to live through bad reviews, most likely, or tepid reviews, you’ll need the courage to stand up to people who disagree with you, you’ll need courage in the face of offending people—every step of the way, you’ll need the inner core of strength, or what we say in Hebrew, ‘koach‘ to get you through.”

Source: Lesléa Newman, interviewed by Renée Olander in The Writer’s Chronicle, May/Summer 2011.

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5 Responses »

  1. Thanks for this, Erika. I admire Leslea so much; she is a working writer in the truest sense of the word, and has been successful in so many genres. She’s not only vastly talented, but also an enormously hard worker – she epitomizes perseverence. For more of her good advice, readers may wish to check out this interview with her, from my blog.

    http://lisaromeo.blogspot.com/2009/11/author-interview-leslea-newman.html

  2. A wonderful post, Erika. Had the opportunity to meet and talk with Leslea when she was on faculty at our MFA program. Her work ethic and productivity are outstanding. She is disciplined, direct,
    friendly, funny and a true working writer, as Lisa described.
    I especially love that she is so diverse in her projects, and when I encountered some resistance around similar choices in my own writing life, I found her example deeply inspiring. Some might think a creative life is mostly fun and games, signings, conferences, openings, etc.
    The truth is that a creative life calls for that inner strength that Leslea so beautifully describes.
    It calls for a kind of discipline that comes almost solely from within, as well as structure and motivation and perseverance. It is not an easy life, but can be a very fulfilling one.
    You gotta wanna.

  3. I’m so glad that the quotation resonated, and thank you both for sharing your admiration for Leslea Newman here.

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