A reader's comment and question:
"For the past several years, as I struggle with my writing, I've kept a quotation of yours taped to my computer: 'If we had to say what writing is, we would define it essentially as an act of courage.' With years of experience and success under your belt, does courage still play such an important part in your writing?"
Cynthia Ozick's answer:
Absolutely. Totally. And always. And sometimes it's pretty hard to come by.
There's a great deal of - for me at any rate - fear associated with writing. This is at the beginning, when I have the sense that I must press on, I must almost force it. But when I'm well-launched, then it takes over, then that fear vanishes. That's near the midpoint. But until you get there, I think you're always haunted by fear, that somebody's sitting on your upper right shoulder saying, "This isn't good enough. This isn't expressed well enough. This isn't clear enough. This isn't passionate enough."