Julian Barnes on Confidence and Calling Yourself a Writer

barnes

INTERVIEWER

So you chose novel writing as a profession.

BARNES

Oh, I didn’t choose it as a profession—I didn’t have the vanity to choose it. I can perhaps now state that I am at last a novelist, and think of myself as a novelist, and can afford to do journalism when it pleases me. But I was never one of those insufferable children who at the age of seven is writing stories under the bedclothes or one of those cocky young wordsmiths who imagine the world awaits their prose. I spent a long time acquiring enough confidence to imagine that I could be some sort of novelist.

-Julian Barnes, on early career aspirations, in The Paris Review. Read more interviews in the Longreads Archive.

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Photo: anniemole, Flickr

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