I enjoyed watching Ian Fleming — and others — talk about the learning process that went into the production of the James Bond character. One thing in particular caught my attention. He did not try to become the next Shakespeare. Instead, he tried to tell a story with clarity.
There is a lesson here for all of us. It is easy to get swept up into a quest for the ultimate. But if this carries us away from our real life experiences, it detracts from our potential. Fleming had incredible real life experience working in naval intelligence. He knew the wartime spy business. All he needed to do to create Bond was to allow those experiences to come back out. Getting swept up in a quest for brilliant writing — a la Shakespeare — would have blocked them.
Ian Fleming also wrote an essay about the writing life.It is very practical — especially the part about avoiding excessive self-criticism.