William Faulkner on being a writer

Posted on Posted in The Writing Life

William Faulkner on how to be a good novelist

This is from the Paris Review Spring 1956 issue, an interview with William Faulkner:


Is there any possible formula to follow in order to be a good novelist?


Ninety-nine percent talent . . . ninety-nine percent discipline . . . ninety-nine percent work. He must never be satisfied with what he does. It never is as good as it can be done.

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

An artist is a creature driven by demons. He don’t know why they choose him and he’s usually too busy to wonder why.

He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done.


Hat tip to Jurgen Wolff for the link to that gem. I take no pleasure in noting that this interview was recorded the year I was born. La plus la change…..

Don’t you love images that evoke questions?

One thought on “William Faulkner on being a writer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *