But the real life of a writer resides in showing up at the keyboard every day, with the necessary patience and mercy, and making the best decisions you can on behalf of your people. It’s a slow process. It often feels hopeless, more like an affliction than an art form. Most of us will have to find our readers one by one, in other words, and against considerable resistance. If anything qualifies us as heroic, it’s that private perpetual struggle. Put down the magazine, soldier. Forget about the other guy. Remember who you are.
To look at the work of your peers, and learn how to explain with kindness and precision, the nature of their mistakes is, in fact, how you learn to diagnose your own work.