Forgiveness and Writing

This month on the blog we're sharing words of encouragement to beginning writers. Here is one of the most inspiring sentiments I've ever read, by author Ann Patchett, excerpted from her essay, The Getaway Car:

"Stop here for a few breaths and think about this, because it is the key to making art and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life.

"Every time I have set out to translate the book (or story, or hopelessly long essay) that exists in such brilliant detail on the big screen of my limbic system onto a piece of paper (which, let's face it, was once a towering tree crowned with leaves and a home to birds), I grieve for my own lack of talent and intelligence. Every. Single. Time.

"Were I smarter, more gifted, I could pin down a closer facsimile of the wonders I see. I believe that, more than anything else, this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers.

"Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can't write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself."

I absolutely love that quote and remind myself often of Patchett's words. Excellent advice for a beginning writer, and every writer.

Michele Weber Hurwitz is the author of four middle grade novels, from Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. Her fifth novel publishes in May 2020. Find her online at


  1. This is a very-favorite quote of mine, as well. I love the combination of practicality and optimism she brings to the advice she gives. Awesome!

  2. I love this: "I can't write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing." Thanks so much for sharing Ann Patchett's beautiful words.


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