The success of failure: Pulitzer winner's surprising road to the top

Story highlights

  • Jennifer Egan won a Pulitzer for her novel "A Visit from the Goon Squad"
  • First draft of works is always "terrible," she says -- but she improves it, over and over again
  • Failure paves way to creativity: Focus on long-term success, learn from mistakes
  • Egan describes road to success as "incremental"
When Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan writes a novel, it may go through 50 or 60 drafts.
The first one begins simply. She sits down with a legal pad and an open mind, deliberately creating by hand. She attempts to write about a half-dozen pages a day. At some point, the first draft is done.</