Inhaler in your pocket

Meg Wolitzer in Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do, edited by Meredith Marat:

While I’m writing, I ask myself the question that a reader inevitably asks a writer: why are you telling me this. There has to be an erotic itch, a sense of book as hot object, the idea that what’s contained in the book is the information you’ve always needed. . . . Imperative is the kind of thing we associate with urgent, external moments – say, with political causes. I also associate it with art. . . . The most difficult time for me as a writer is before I have a central guiding idea for a book. Once I have it I feel reassured. It’s like having an inhaler in your pocket, if you’re an asthmatic.

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