John Green Cares More About Loving His Work Than Finding An Audience

The celebrated author of "The Fault In Our Stars" explains what motivates him to keep writing.

Acclaimed young adult author John Green -- who's behind the best-selling novel The Fault in Our Stars -- has always worried whether his work would be well-received. But what's kept him going over the years is finding a sense of purpose in his craft, not major success.

Green spoke with Adam Grant, a Wharton professor and author of the forthcoming book Originals, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, about what truly matters to him when it comes to his writing. Green said he realized during the five-year process of writing his first novel, Looking for Alaska, that "you have to find pleasure and fulfillment in the work."

He explained:

I write for an audience and I want to have an audience, but I also have to find fulfillment in the work. I think of it as trying to make a gift for people and in this process of making the gift, that's the thing. And if people accept the gift, if it resonates with them, that's wonderful and that's the best. But if it doesn't, I need to be OK with that because I need to find fulfillment inside the work itself.

Even after writing award-winning, best-selling books, Green still worries "if I'm ever going to write something that people read again," he said. But this "guiding principle" of valuing his own personal fulfillment first and foremost has remained a staple throughout his career.

The Fault In Our Stars was later adapted into a massive hit film.

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