Why Author Alice Sebold, 53, Says Desperation Means Creativity

Photo by Neville Elder

The Talks: Ms. Sebold, were you a misfit growing up?

Alice Sebold: Oh yeah, sure. But I think almost all writers feel like they were misfits growing up!

TT: Is that what it takes to be creative?

AS: I think it takes desperation! When I teach, I always say that desperation is a great motivator. And a lot of students will judge themselves for how desperate they feel. But I think it’s a great thing, as long as what you’re desperate to do is not to succeed but to express something in a way you feel it really needs to be expressed, or to tell a story that you haven’t seen out there. The desperation has to come from a drive to express something. I want to learn and explore difficult things by writing.