I was lucky enough to attend a small group discussion about writing with Barbara Ehrenreich today. After she spoke about the process she used to write "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America," it became a Q & A free-for-all. I asked her about Welcome to Cancerland, an essay she wrote for Harper's that I found unsettling.
Finally, a few things she said about writing really struck me:
"Two things motivate me. One is indignation / moral outrage. And the other, not as socially commendable, is curiosity."
"To communicate to other people is to take your experience and universalize it ... but the awful truth is that nobody much cares."
"The other thing they don't understand is how much research it takes to even write one sentence."
"When I'm writing, I ask myself 'am I describing things as accurately, vividly, and concretely as I can?'"