Yesterday it was announced that Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel The Goldfinch.
This did not surprise me at all. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, The Goldfinch is one of the best books I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read it, do it now. She is an incredible writer. In fact, I would have to agree with this New York Times article when it says that Donna Tartt is the kind of writer who makes other writers “pea green with envy.”
Ms. Tartt is also notoriously private and doesn’t give many interviews (although she might have no choice now that she won the Pulitzer). But thanks to the glory of the internet, I was able to piece together some words of wisdom from the incredible and enviable Donna Tartt.
Care about your technique.
“To be good at anything, whether dance or painting or Olympic diving, you have to be really, really attentive to detail. And you also have to be able to forget about technique in the heat of the moment – you have to know your technique so well that it’s second nature. But you never stop trying to refine it.”
Don’t write about what you know.
“You know, the fun thing about writing a book is that it really is a different life, just as reading it is like a different life for the reader. I don’t want to write about my own life, I want to write about someone else’s, to live someone else’s life.”
Write at your own pace.
“So many people say to me, why don’t you write books faster? And I’ve tried to, just to see if I could. But working that way doesn’t come naturally to me. I would be miserable cranking out a book every three or four years. And if I’m not having fun writing it, people aren’t going to have fun reading it.”
Let writing be your escape.
“Staying with the same characters for so long is fun, it’s fun seeing how they evolve over time, being in the same world for a long time. Once I’m there I like to stay there. It’s an alternate life, it’s wonderful. Of course it’s escapist.”
Drink like Hemingway.
“I like a glass of whiskey in the winter, I like a gin and tonic in the summer, I like a glass of champagne anytime.”
(Source: The Guardian)