Q: What was the hardest lesson you needed to learn as a writer and how did you learn it?
A: The hardest lesson? It’s never over and done, the learning of this lesson. It’s that the beginning is always the beginning. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a kick ass idea that came to you fully formed in a dream, or you’ve just won a big literary prize that proclaims you to be the biggest literary genius around, or you just inherited ten million bucks, or you were struck by lightning. Every time you begin a new book it’s as if you’re writing the first one. You know nothing. The writing sucks. It’s awkward. It’s both too much and too little. But that’s just how it is at the beginning. It’s the nature of beginning, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the work.
You can read the whole interview here. And while you're at it, explore the rest of the summer issue of Etude: New Voices in Literary Nonfiction.