Here’s a very recent entry to the WD archives, excerpted from one of my favorite interviewees of all time—Gay Talese. This is from an interview I conducted with Talese and it appeared in the August 2006 issue of Writer’s Digest.
If you were a young journalist starting out today, what would you be doing?
Well, I’d be doing what I’m doing, which is to try to write really well and trust that there are people who appreciate writing that’s very well done. My father, who was a craftsman with a needle and thread, said, “If you do good work, you’ll find that there are people who are going to support it.” Now, you’re not going to get rich necessarily; I mean, maybe you will, but if you’re a craftsman or an artist, you may not be recognized right away. But there are going to be enough people around who are going to appreciate the craft, who are going to appreciate quality work. So if you make a beautiful pair of shoes, a beautiful dress, a beautiful painting, there are some people who are going to have the eye and discernment to say, “Ah, this is quality work.” They’re going to buy it and appreciate it. They’re going to tell you they understand why you took the time, because it’s worth it to do quality work.