I can't imagine a more difficult, challenging, or interesting vocation than creating a story, a narrative world, out of literally no tangible thing, just a thought, an idea.
Yes, people do this in science and all sorts of fields, but rarely does the rank and file, the average person, have the opportunity to enact this great generative process, this creation. It is a process of discovery like few others, especially in these latter days when the world has been so well explored, and space yet remains something of a fantasy we still have relatively limited opportunities to investigate. Art, writing, is still a frontier we may never exhaust, and it is readily available to anyone, anywhere, with little to no equipment or capital required.
The results are so ineffable, so difficult to measure (book sales aside,) so subjective, and the formulas so inadequate to describe the road ahead - you can spend a lifetime learning and innovating this unique combination of syntax, emotion, subject, thought, and imagination, and unlike the laws of nature or mathematics, the rules can change and morph before your eyes, tried and true formulas crumble to dust in your hands, and you are challenged to reinvent the most basic processes you thought you had mastered. It's endlessly fascinating.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE WRITING ADVICE?
"Every first draft is perfect because all the first draft has to do is exist."
- Jane Smiley, author of A Thousand Acres
My best advice to an aspiring author is to buy, borrow or steal every book of writing advice you can get your hands on and read them over and over. Every single one* is going to have some little idea, piece of advice, trick, or way of framing the process that will help you get better.
And the only other thing every writer or author I've ever heard of has said:
Just keep going! Failure only happens when you give up.
*Except for The Art of Fiction by John Gardner (it's terrible.)
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS and/or AUTHORS?
Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien - Little, Big John Crowley - The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame - Brave New World Aldous Huxley - 1984 George Orwell - The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood - To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee - The God of Ecstasy Arthur Evans - The Ladies Doris Grumbach - Less Andrew Sean Greer - The House of Life Mario Praz - Green Thoughts Eleanor Perényi - Death in Venice Thomas Mann
(Yes, I do have rather antique taste in books.)