The long defeat

This Graham Greene quote on writing caught my eye:
“Are you prepared for the years of effort, ‘the long defeat of doing nothing well’? As the years pass writing will not become any easier, the daily effort will grow harder to endure, those ‘powers of observation’ will become enfeebled; you will be judged, when you reach your 40s, by performance and not by promise.”

I don’t think it’s entirely accurate, though.  I think you’re past the potential stage in your 30s, for instance, and there’s still a certain amount of luck in it for all writers.  Nor do I think Graham Greene felt he was doing nothing well all those years.
From: Bail out the writers! in Sunday’s NYT.

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