Tony Kushner on Writing Under Panic (2012)

“I find writing very difficult. It’s hard and it hurts sometimes, and it’s scary because of the fear of failure and the very unpleasant feeling that you may have reached the limit of your abilities. You’re smart enough to see that there’s something that lies beyond what you’ve been able to do, but you don’t know how to get there, how to make it happen in the medium in which you’ve decided to work. I can be very masochistic, but that kind of anxiety is something I tend to want to avoid … The lesson I learn over and over again – and then forget over and over again – is that writing won’t be so bad once you get into it. One’s reluctance is immensely powerful. It’s like what Proust says about habit – it seems tiny in the grand arc of a person’s life narrative, but it’s the most insidious, powerful thing. Reluctance is like that.  When you feel most terrified – I think this is true of most writers – it’s because the thing isn’t there in your head. I’ve found it to be the case that you’ve got to start writing, and writing almost anything. Because writing is not simply an intellectual act. It doesn’t happen exclusively in your head. It’s a combination of idea and action, what Marx and Freud called praxis, a combining of the material and the immaterial. The action, the physical act of putting things down on paper, changes and produces a writer’s ideas.”

(From Kushner’s Paris Review interview.)