Cormac McCarthy on the nature of creative work

by Mr. Sheehy

Someone asked Flannery O’Connor why she wrote, and she said, “Because I was good at it.” And I think that’s the right answer. If you’re good at something it’s very hard not to do it. . . .

Creative work is often driven by pain. It may be that if you don’t have something in the back of your head driving you nuts, you may not do anything. It’s not a good arrangement. If I were God, I wouldn’t have done it that way. Things I’ve written about are no longer of any interest to me, but they were certainly of interest before I wrote about them. So there’s something about writing about it that flattens them. You’ve used them up. I tell people I’ve never read one of my books, and that’s true. They think I’m pulling their leg.

from a Wall Street Journal interview with Cormac McCarthy