An enormous amount of faith goes into writing fiction – I mean, why do it at all? Alice Munro
Alice Munro is the first Canadian and thirteenth female to win the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Swedish Academy described Munro as “master of the contemporary short story.” But according to Munro, the reason she wrote short stories was because she couldn’t write novels. Each time she tried “the novel would always break down about halfway through and I would lose interest in it, and it didn’t seem any good and I wouldn’t persist,” she told the Wall Street Journal in 2009. Poor Alice.
But no. Because Alice Munro knew she was a writer and she understood that if you’re a writer then you’ve got to finish what you start.
It doesn’t matter what you choose to write, be it a six-word memoir, flash fiction, a short story or a novel. If you’re not going to finish what you started, you’re not a writer.
And at the beginning that might mean that your work is going to suck. That you’re going to be unhappy and unfulfilled. But if you don’t stick with it, learn from where you went wrong and improve on it, you’re no writer. You’re a wannabe. And that’s just sad.
Alice Munro is the quintessential Canadian. Quiet, modest, even reclusive. The Swedish Academy tweeted that they couldn’t get a hold of Alice Munro. She had to call them back.
“I didn’t write out of any decision to be literary” Munro is quoted as saying. She wrote because she believed that “it’s a celebratory thing to do about human life.” She understood that in order to write fiction you have to take that great leap of faith. Even if you’re not writing a novel.