Jennifer Egan

Literary Birthday – 7 September – Jennifer Egan

Happy Birthday, Jennifer Egan, born 7 September 1962.

Jennifer Egan Quotes

  1. Quick views of someone you never get to know are so evocative.
  2. My cats are a big part of my work life. They’re in and out of here all day long.
  3. I usually try to write five to seven original pages a day. I find if I go over that then I’m often really depleted for the next day and I find its better to hold onto the continuity.
  4. A first draft takes about 10% of the total writing time.
  5. Usually my books go through three or four big drafts, with each big draft reflecting 20 rewrites of each individual part.
  6. When I’m writing fiction I don’t like writing at a desk. I’ll often write at this [gingham easy] chair that I got at Ikea. It’s awful, there are pen marks all over it. If I’m writing original stuff and not editing I often use a lap desk and I write on legal pads. Anything that involves typing or businessy stuff, I’ll do at the desk. The actual creation is always by hand, away from the computer.
  7. I print out and save all my drafts and I number them so if I start to have that experience of something good having disappeared, I can go through them and I can dig back to what I’m looking for. I distrust the continuous present of a screen because there’s no history there.
  8. I believe profoundly in continuing to read and think and communicate in sophisticated ways, especially when the problems we as a world are dealing with have never been greater.  It couldn’t be more important.
  9. The goal is not just to publish a few books and have a good time. The goal ideally is to try to create work that lasts and pushes the conversation forward in some way.
  10. I haven’t had trouble with writer’s block. I think it’s because my process involves writing very badly. My first drafts are filled with lurching, clichéd writing, outright flailing around. Writing that doesn’t have a good voice or any voice. But then there will be good moments. It seems writer’s block is often a dislike of writing badly and waiting for writing better to happen.
  11. But a story was invisible, infinite, it had no size or shape. Information. It could fill the world or fit inside a fingernail.
  12. Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work.

Must-read: Jennifer Egan’s Advice For Young Writers

Jennifer Egan is an American novelist and short story writer. Her novel A Visit From The Goon Squad won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

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by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 6th September 2012