Alexander Chee: The Only Things You Must Have to Become a Writer

I came across this quote earlier this week on Twitter, where it was shared by Sheree Joseph. I agree that stamina is a huge part of becoming a writer and that making peace with uncertainty and criticism are a part of the process. But I’m puzzled by the last part – the ‘wiley, cagey heart’, so puzzled, in fact, that I looked those words up in the dictionary. Both mean cunningness, but wiley also implies furtiveness and cagey suggests hesitation about commitment. I’m not sure how this fits with the writing life. What do you make of it?

One thought on “Alexander Chee: The Only Things You Must Have to Become a Writer”

  1. I see what you mean but I read the second part as the internal responses to the external stimuli of the first part. Challenging work? Need stamina. Exposing oneself to criticism is a hazard of your profession? Need a wiley heart that won’t fall into every trap set by self doubt.
    A “thick skin'”, or a “strong heart”, or similiar might have done the job..

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