Yesterday I looked at two interviews on YouTube. The first was of Larry David, who writes and stars in the HBO TV comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm. The second interview was of John Updike.
Larry David, whose show makes me laugh out loud more than any other TV show, kept stressing this in his interview: “I want to write about ideas that nobody else can think of.” I’m certain that you, out there, have already written or will someday write ideas that nobody else has ever thought of or will ever think of. Why do I say this? Because we’re all unique individuals—that is, if we don’t become copycats or formula writers. Over the years I’ve heard people say in one form or another, “Follow the formula and you are sure to succeed.” To hell with that kind of thinking. Why be a writer if you’re going to imitate another writer or follow a certain formula? Live life, be unique like you were meant to be, and write about ideas, as Larry David says, that nobody else can think of.
John Updike, the great American writer who died at the age of 76 in 2009, repeated the following sentence several times in his interview: “If you’re a writer, you have to have something worth saying.” The question arises: Do I have something worth saying in these entries that I’ve been writing for the past 42 weeks? You bet your bottom dollar I have something to say. I’m giving you, the reader, a picture of what it is to be a full-time writer in this world. But more importantly, whether you’re a professional writer or novice, I’m trying to get you to stop procrastinating and start writing that story, essay, poem or book that’s been on your mind for God knows how long. I believe whatever a writer writes is worth saying. So get to it, right now, this very minute. Stop what you’re doing and start writing.