An Interview with William Styron, and His Advice

Upon looking up the different writer’s interviews, I found some familiar authors, such as Toni Morrison and Stephen King, but once I began to read their interviews, I connected with some things and felt lost when they were referencing books in which I had not read. So, I decided to choose a writer that I hadn’t necessarily heard of before and try to learn his style and why writing is important to him. That was when I found William Styron.

At first, I could relate to his relationship with music and how it spurns his creativity and can affect his mood. Styron credits his love of music as being the force of his life allowing him to write. While I don’t credit music being the force allowing me to write, I believe music can fill people with passion and have the ability to change the mood of people. I use music when I am feeling a little stressed out or upset to uplift my spirits as I become much happier after.

Aside from our common interests, what really drew me to read this interview was how it ended. Styron ends his interview by giving young aspiring writers advice on how to become a successful writer. His first point is, “a writer must have read an enormous amount by the time he begins to write.” This point pertains to me so much that I spent the majority of my “Why I Write” piece talking about it. I grew up reading the sports page every morning and really enjoyed reading different columns by the same journalists every day; it was not because I needed to catch up on the game the night before, I had already watched that. It was because I really enjoyed the voice in which each of the journalists wrote in. I felt that I was picking up on a recent dialogue, between us, when I opened the paper and read that day’s column. I admired, and still look forward to, reading the homely and friendly tone of Paul Daugherty every morning and his opinions about the sports world, but also society in itself. Reading developed my will to find my own voice in writing, one that I hope to inch closer to while completing the minor.

The next step, according to Styron, is that “you must love language… cherish it, and play with it and love what it does” That was followed by, having “passion and [a] vision.” I believe that all of us in the minor cherish language, because it has affected us all enough to develop our on desire to write. This course will serve as the platform to play with language and provide us an opportunity to not worry about writing to appease a teacher, but to focus on becoming better writers and finding each of our own voices.

3 thoughts to “An Interview with William Styron, and His Advice”

  1. Hi Louis,

    It’s awesome that Styron believes a love of language was important to write. That’s a great point because why else would we minor in writing if not for our passion for words and their infinite arrangements? That’s what it’s all about after all. Also, I agree that it is so crucial to read a lot before you can write. The two actions, reading and writing, are basically equal and opposite reactions (sorry for the science-y analogy, was just doing physics homework). I’m curious though, did you ever read sports-related novels or was it mainly the newspaper columns? What kind of writing are you interested in doing–journalism or creative writing?
    Interesting post, thanks for sharing.


  2. Hi Louis,

    Wow, your post was very inspirational to read! It is my absolute favorite. I was truly inspired by your dedication to finding an interviewee who grasped your attention and hopefully benefits you. Similar to you, I was once indirectly told that “writing is best when one is frequently reading”. I remember staring at this stranger in absolute amazement because that is how I feel everyday. During the periods of time when I am reading, I feel at ease with writing. For this reason, I truly enjoyed reading about how Mr. Styron says that reading is a necessary part of writing. I enjoyed reading about how you truly enjoy reading sports columns for pleasure. I feel that it is great for an individual to have a hobby that also stimulates their writing. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts.



  3. Che,
    Thank you for your comment. To answer your question, I grew up mostly reading sports columns and not many sports related novels. The books that I picked up were, and still are, biographies and autobiographies of my favorite athletes, coaches, and yes, sports writers.
    I am not too interested in doing creative writing, although I don’t mind it too much, but I would prefer to write sports columns. Last winter, I had the chance to write numerous sport ethics essays and I really enjoyed that opportunity.

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