Quotation of the Week: Mario Vargas Llosa (trans. Natasha Wimmer)

The definining characteristic of the literary vocation may be that those who possess it experience the exercise of their craft as its own best reward, much superior to anything they might gain from the fruits of their labors. That is one thing I am sure of amid my many uncertainties regarding the literary vocation: deep inside, a writer feels that writing is the best thing that ever happened to him, or could ever happen to him, because as far as he is concerned, writing is the best possible way of life, never mind the social, political, or financial rewards of what he might achieve through it.

–Mario Vargas Llosa, Letters to a Young Novelist (translated by Natasha Wimmer)

5 thoughts on “Quotation of the Week: Mario Vargas Llosa (trans. Natasha Wimmer)

  1. JoanBailey says:

    Just what I needed to hear. Thanks for posting this.

  2. John Vanderslice says:


    That is just the perfect quotation. My sister recently expressed admiration for my persistence in writing, even in the face of little or no financial reward. She was approving but also, to be honest, quizzical. I felt a little put on the spot, trying to explain my commitment. Vargas Llosa's quote says it all. Exactly what i should have–and will now–say to my sister.

  3. Erika D. says:

    Joan and John, I'm so glad! I was considering a few other quotations, and then I rediscovered this one, and it just "spoke" to me. I am very pleased that it resonated for you as well. Thanks for letting me know!

  4. Maman says:

    It makes me happy to see what I have at first suspected, then known in the center of my being to be true felt by others – and expressed so well. Thank you for this reminder!

  5. Chuck says:

    Well, not to be repetitious, but that in my opinion is some of the easiest reading, most digestible writing imaginable. Especially when I notice how l o n g are the sentences.
    Thank you.

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