Reading Matters

Eudora Welty on what it takes to be writer

I once asked Eudora Welty what she thought it took young people, who were competent at writing, to go on and make a successful career of it.

“It’s just like people who are good at dancing,” she said, “painting, music when they are young. But it isn’t sustained. And I do think that depends on what you were born with, which you can’t help, and you can’t get it. You’ve got to have that if you’re really going to go on with it. Yo’ve got to have a talent for it, a gift, whatever, and be willing to work hard to develop that. That is, it can’t all come from the outside.”