After turning on the radio the other morning, I realized I’d arrived late to an NPR interview with some author. The woman told her interviewer that she first decided to write a story when she got snowed in with her kids years ago, and I thought, “Hey, that’s just like the story Nora Roberts told me back when I interviewed her in ’92.”
How on earth do I remember that it was 1992? I’d just returned to my job as a newspaper reporter after recovering from ear surgery, and my neck was stiff and I was still feeling a little fragile after spending most of the summer with vertigo prior to having the ear problem diagnosed. But upon my return to work, I was called upon to interview Ms. Roberts at our then tiny little independent bookstore. She was so eager to talk about her books and her writing process, even though I received the assignment at the last minute and had thus committed the unpardonable (to me) sin of not having read her new book beforehand. (Did I mention I was recovering from ear surgery? I remember telling Ms. Roberts so she wouldn’t wonder why I was moving my head so very slowly and carefully, which is what one does when one’s ear has been sliced open and part of the bone removed.)
Today, of course, Nora Roberts is a well-known bestselling author, but she wasn’t quite a household name back then. I’ve never forgotten that she was kind, approachable, and friendly. So when I realized she was the author being interviewed on NPR, I perked up.
My favorite moment in the interview came when host Peter Sagal asked her if she ever gets writer’s block. Frankly, I don’t believe in writer’s block, and Ms. Roberts doesn’t, either.
“I don’t let myself believe in it,” she said. “I feel very strongly writing is habit as much as an art or a craft. And if you write crap, you’re still writing. And you can fix that. But if you walk away, then you’ve broken the habit.”
Did you get that? “If you write crap, you’re still writing. And you can fix that.”
My own philosophy has long been that it’s easier to fix something than it is to fix nothing, and I was so encouraged to hear that Nora Roberts agrees with me. If you’d like to read a transcript of the entire interview, click here.