The artist must raise everything to a higher level: he is like a pump; inside him is a great pipe reaching down into the bowels of things, the deepest layers. He sucks up what was pooled beneath the surface and brings it forth into the sunlight in giant sprays.
By the end, you should be inside your character, actually operating from within somebody else, and knowing him pretty well, as that person knows himself or herself. You’re sort of a predator, an invader of people.
I don’t struggle because I was always the stupidest kid in the class and the idea that I would ever be brilliant was knocked out of me in the third grade. So I’m not sitting around trying to be brilliant, or Shakespeare. I’m just trying to get the work I have in my head down on the page in the best way I possibly know how without putting that horrible pressure on myself of saying “I’m going to write it today and in 200 years at Princeton they will be studying these words.” Yeah, I want my stuff to be as good as I can conceivably make it, but I am not going to put that on my head.