Some months ago I was driving to the far away place my hairdresser moved to when she started her own shop (you know how it is—you can't break up with your hairdresser, it's far too traumatic) and for once I was grateful for the long drive because Nora Ephron was being interviewed on NPR and I wanted to listen to the whole interview. She talked about when she got started as a professional writer. With absolute honesty and humbleness she said how truly awful her first screenplays were (and these were successful, in the sense of bought and produced). How she had been incredibly lucky to have people take her by the hand and show her how to improve.
I especially remember two things she said in that interview:
- it takes about seven books (or scripts) to get good at writing them
- everybody talks about the importance of failure in learning, but if you don't have someone or something to help you figure out the problems and fix them, all you learn from failure is how to fail.
Yesterday, the Pacific Northwest Writers Association put up cuts from an interview they did with Nora Ephron not long ago. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. (It's about six minutes.)
And PNWA happened to send out another video this past week that I wanted to share with you, too. Bill Kenower, who created the PNWA author interviews, always asks the authors to complete the same sentence at the end of the interview: "If writing has taught me anything, it's taught me . . . what?" Here is a very short compilation video of answers to that question from some published authors.
Nora was a great inspiration. The answers to Bill's question often are, too. I hope you enjoy both.