“Many great writers turn out more books than they should because they’re expected to.”


“Somehow we’ve got the idea that writers should be able to support themselves with their writing, and that you’re not a writer at all if you’re not writing, even after you’ve actually gotten one fine book published, or one great story.  That’s just wrong. A few very industrious, very talented people pay for room and board and a whole lot more with their writing, and good for them. But for most of us it’s a cottage industry, and there’s nothing tragic about that.”

An excellent interview with Jincey Willett, author of the short story collection Jenny and the Jaws of Life.

What’s fascinating about Willett is that she crafts exquisite, beautiful stories. Today I reread her short stories twice each–once to enjoy them, one to see how she did it. I’ve only read this book of short stories and one of her two novels, both of which make her out to be a very promising writer.  It turns out she’s about 60. She’s been writing and teaching on and off. Her writing makes me want to see a whole body of work, but she’s just gaining steam now. I suppose that should be encouraging.

She argues that some brilliant MFA students get published too early, even though they are not ready. She writes, “many fine writers, many great writers, turn out more books than they should, because they’re expected to.” Read the interview.

Or, play her online poetry game, The Agony of the Feet.

Christopher Benz writes. More from this author →