Interviewer Jean Babette Stein (later herself a notable American author and editor) asked the American writer and Nobel Laureate William Faulkner “Is there any possible formula to follow in order to be a good novelist?” he replied,

Ninety-nine percent talent … ninety-nine percent discipline … ninety-nine percent work. He must never be satisfied with what he does. It never is as good as it can be done. Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. An artist is a creature driven by demons. He don’t know why they choose him and he’s usually too busy to wonder why. He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done.

Source: The Paris Review, Issue 12, Spring 1956

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