My First Time: Paris Review Video Series Features Writers Talking About Getting Started as Writers

Do you spend your days sweat­ing blood over a lap­top, work­ing on a nov­el or poem or screen­play that always seems to fall short of the bril­liant ver­sion that is in your head? Are you ter­ri­fied that if you don’t squeeze out a first nov­el that will instant­ly make you the toast of the New York lit­er­ary estab­lish­ment you will be an abject fail­ure? Do you feel com­pelled to work on a book but are still plagued with the slow cor­ro­sive drip of doubt? Well, take heart. Every­one feels like that when he or she starts out.

The Paris Review, one of the most impor­tant lit­er­ary mag­a­zines around, made its name with long, in-depth inter­views with lit­er­ary fig­ures. Now they are launch­ing a video series called “My First Time,” where they inter­view authors, car­toon­ists and play­wrights about the begin­ning of their careers.

“This is a chance to see how suc­cess­ful authors got their start, in their own words,” as the Paris Review’s Dan Piepen­bring writes. “It’s a por­trait of the artist as a begin­ner and a look at the cre­ative process, in all its joy, abjec­tion, delu­sion, and eupho­ria.”

It’s strange­ly com­fort­ing to watch these peo­ple talk about strug­gling with all the psy­cho­log­i­cal crap that con­fronts any­one who has the audac­i­ty to try to cre­ate. They suc­ceed­ed. Maybe you can too.

Above is the trail­er for the series and low­er down are inter­views with author J. Robert Lennon, car­toon­ist Gabrielle Bell and play­wright Bran­den Jacobs-Jenk­ins.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Paris Review Inter­views Now Online

Ray Brad­bury Gives 12 Pieces of Writ­ing Advice to Young Authors (2001)

H.P. Love­craft High­lights the 20 “Types of Mis­takes” Young Writ­ers Make

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing pic­tures of vice pres­i­dents with octo­pus­es on their heads.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.


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