The Art of Fiction No. 85, J. G. Ballard

INTERVIEWER

Now, that old chestnut: Do you have any advice for young writers?

BALLARD

A lifetime’s experience urges me to utter a warning cry: do anything else, take someone’s golden retriever for a walk, run away with a saxophone player. Perhaps what’s wrong with being a writer is that one can’t even say “good luck”—luck plays no part in the writing of a novel. No happy accidents as with the paint pot or chisel. I don’t think you can say anything, really. I’ve always wanted to juggle and ride a unicycle, but I daresay if I ever asked the advice of an acrobat he would say, “All you do is get on and start pedaling …” §

Every word written is an intentional act. Just start.