The Craft of Writing: Cheryl Strayed, Author of “Wild”

In just one and a half minutes, Cheryl Strayed speaks to one of the fundamental truths of writing: Don't try so hard. Sometimes we're so bent on writing our best that we become stunted by our own involvement in the story. Remove the ego from the equation. If you haven't written the best piece, at least you've written an honest one. "Aspire always for greatness," she notes, "but surrender always to mediocrity." Cheryl Strayed is most recently the author of "Wild," a tour-de-force of escapism and self-discovery along the Pacific Crest Trail. Starting a new writing project, it turns out, is a lot like navigating an unknown trail: After a while, surrendering control allows you to better appreciate the beauty in the unexpected.