John Steinbeck is one of my favorites and very influential to me. I found the below quote to confirm my own experience and my hunch that good and average writers go through these kinds of excruciating thoughts in the writing and re-writing (and re-re-re-writing) process.
“I’m afraid this book is going to pieces. If it does, I do too … If only I wouldn’t take this book so seriously. It is just a book after all, and a book is very dead in a very short time. And I’ll be dead in a very short time too. So the hell with it. Let’s slow down, not in pace or wordage but in nerves.”
The book Steinbeck was writing was “The Grapes of Wrath,” the story of the Joad family leaving their failing Oklahoma farm at the nadir of the Great Depression for the chance at a better life in California.
The novel was published in 1939 and — Steinbeck’s gloomy prediction notwithstanding — has been a landmark of American literature ever since. It has never been out of print and served as the basis of the Academy Award-winning film by John Ford that starred Henry Fonda as Tom Joad.
Who is one of your favorite authors?