On Writing and Uncertainty


Is writing a fundamentally speculative act? This is one of the questions Jenny Offill was asked in an interview with the Paris Review. Offill discusses the uncertainty that comes with being a writer, working constantly at a craft that can never be fully mastered. In Offill’s words, “That is why so many talented people stop writing. It’s hard to tolerate this not-knowing.” Still, Offill manages to find beauty in the uncertainty:

I would argue that this feeling of uncertainty is actually the best practice you could have for the other important things you will do in your life. No one ever masters falling in love or being a parent or losing someone close to him. And who would want to master such things, really?

Serena Candelaria is a Rumpus intern, and a self-proclaimed fiction addict. This summer, she worked at 29th Street Publishing and began writing a novella. She is currently a senior at Yale, where she studies Literature. More from this author →