Good news: writers’ block = Pulitzer

With its article on this year’s Pulitzer Prizes, the Guardian seems to be channeling my therapist. The upshot is that you should forgive yourself for being a total fuck-up and failing to finish your novel; even Pulitzer winners can take ten years:

Jones took a decade to write The Known World. During that time, he lost his job as a proofreader for an accounting trade publication and lost touch with much of the publishing world. When he finished, he felt so embarrassed by the delay that he notified his agent by letter instead of telephoning him.

In an interview with Robert Birnbaum in January, Jones talked about critics’ reactions to the book:

People are coming along now—the guy in Publishers Weekly, he was very nice and everything, but he said the first hundred pages are daunting. I think a lot of the stuff that I am hearing now, had I heard it as I was cracking this thing maybe it would have had an effect on me. I hope that it wouldn’t have. I hate to think I would have gone and taken somebody out just because people would have found it daunting. They all say it’s a bit hard going in the first hundred pages but then after that it smoothes itself out.


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