Whether a writer or reader, or both, you don’t have to just read craft books to learn from authors. They come to you! Look around your community to support authors. Hear their voices read their work, find out the back stories on their published stories, and support critical thinking and literacy, all just by going to a local bookstore or event and filling your mind with questions and wonder. (Poets&Writers has an app that shows events in your area if you enter your zip code.)
I am incredibly lucky to live in a city that supports and values literature and writers. Every academic year, Inprint and Brazos Bookstore provide the most amazing master classes from authors by bringing them to share their novels, short stories, poetry, and expertise. I try to go to as many as possible.
As the 2017-2018 season winds down, here are some of the words of wisdom they shared that I hold in my heart and mind as I write. I hope they inspire you as well. Comment with your favorite writing advice!
“There is a narrative that insists past is past and not part of the present…that it doesn’t haunt us…I disagree.” Jesmyn Ward
“Adaptation is what literature is about.” Aminatta Forna
”When a character becomes a symbol—you lose them as a real person.” Tayari Jones
“Conventions are not truth.” Samanta Schweblin
“It can take years for a novel to develop.” Paul Auster
“I live by writing it down. This is how I process life.” Jhumpa Lahiri
“Remembering and forgetting is a double helix.” Viet Thanh Nguyen
“Create enough silence and space for the reader to take the writer’s journey.” Nicole Krauss
“If all goes well, as you read, the book falls away.” Nathan Englander
And for longer essays from great authors, check out the Tin House series of author essays on craft from the title photo.
Then get in that chair and write!