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Kurt Andersen, host of Studio 360 on NPR, is a journalist and the author of the novels Hey Day, Turn of the Century, The Real Thing, and his latest non-fiction book[…]

Kurt Andersen discusses the struggle of writing. He says all writing is a moment-to-moment struggle to find the right words within the right structure.

Kurt Andersen: But any kind of writing – non-fiction or fiction – is a struggle.  It’s a very moment-to-moment struggle of figuring out where the right sentence, the right paragraph, the right page, the right structure for the larger thing.  And when you’re writing a book – my two novels have been 600 odd pages – that becomes an enormous structure to try to get as right as possibleIt’s a pleasurable struggle when you’re done; but it is a struggle while it’s going on.  I actually find the work of writing fiction less of a struggle, less of a stressful procedure than I do writing a 1,700-word essay.  The essay, or journalism, is almost pure struggle.  And then I’m only happy when I’m done.  Whereas writing fiction has moments of pleasure amid the struggle while it’s going on.


Recorded on: July 5, 2007.