Interview – E.B. White

I revise a great deal. I know when something is right because bells begin ringing and lights flash. I’m not at all sure what the “necessary equipment” is for a writer—it seems to vary greatly with the individual. Some writers are equipped with extrasensory perception. Some have a good ear, like O’Hara. Some are equipped with humor—although not nearly as many as think they are. Some are equipped with a massive intellect, like Wilson. Some are prodigious.


I do think the ability to evaluate one’s own stuff with reasonable accuracy is a helpful piece of equipment. I’ve known good writers who’ve had it, and I’ve known good writers who’ve not. I’ve known writers who were utterly convinced that anything at all, if it came from their pen, was the work of genius and as close to being right as anything can be.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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