Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Shop Talk |

"When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing. This is great."

This has been making the rounds for a little while now, but it’s so inspiring that if you haven’t seen it yet, you really should. In a commencement address at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Neil Gaiman offers reflections and advice on writing, freelancing, and the artistic life—“everything I wish I’d known starting out… and the best piece of advice I ever got, which I completely failed to follow” You can also read the transcript at the University of the Arts website, but there’s something about hearing in English accent that makes all this sound so encouraging and […]


Interviews |

Save That Blood! An Interview with Jim Shepard

The title of Jim Shepard’s latest collection, You Think That’s Bad, could also be a creative mantra. Here the veteran writer discusses his research process, the apocalyptic state of the world, the (possible) irrelevancy of literature to the apocalypse, his epic mustache—and other matters of importance.


Shop Talk |

"Masturbate frequently."

We hear a lot about how writers find their inspiration. But how about other creative artists? The Guardian surveyed contemporary musicians, dancers, directors, and architects to find out where they got their creative inspiration. Much of their advice is unexpected, yet would be useful to writers as well. Here’s a sampler: Guy Garvey, musician: Spending time in your own head is important. When I was a boy, I had to go to church every Sunday; the priest had an incomprehensible Irish accent, so I’d tune out for the whole hour, just spending time in my own thoughts. I still do […]


Shop Talk |

"Work with the puppy that is your brain"

It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you’re a writer. But does beating yourself up really help? For 99.9% of us, the answer is no. How do you learn to go easier on yourself? The Rejectionist is here to help: So imagine you have a new puppy, and your new puppy does the things that new puppies do, which are: pee on the floor, eat your favorite shoes, poop in your laundry hamper, chew on your plants, chase the cat. Right? Bad things. Now, how do you deal effectively with the misbehaviors of the new puppy, which does not […]


Shop Talk |

Supreme Court justices: secret fiction lovers

We seldom think of judges as writers, but as any lawyer will tell you, written decisions are the bulk of the court’s work. Recently, the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing published interviews with the SCOTUS justices (as they’re known in legal circles), and surprise: many of them appreciate reading, especially fiction, as the basis of good writing. NPR reports: “The only good way to learn about writing is to read good writing,” says Chief Justice John Roberts. That sentiment is echoed by Breyer, who points to Proust, Stendhal and Montesquieu as his inspirations. Justice Anthony Kennedy loves Hemingway, Shakespeare, Solzhenitsyn, […]


Shop Talk |

Thursday Morning Candy: The Grub Street Daily

“Grub” and “candy” probably don’t go together in your mind, but trust me, this week’s Thursday Morning Candy is delicious. The Grub Street Daily is the new daily blog from Grub Street, an independent, nonprofit writing center in Boston. (Disclaimer: I teach there!) The newly launched site offers quotes, prompts, and exercises; publishing success stories; and quirky blog posts like Tara Masih’s thoughts on a writer’s Oscar acceptance speech. There’s even a weekly advice column, “Friday Five-O,” which answers reader queries such as: Dear Friday Five-O: I have a timeless writing question: how do I make a writing schedule and […]


Shop Talk |

How to Cope with the Writing Life

Author Hannah Moskovitz has a sweet little post on coping with the ins and outs of a daily writing life: Here’s what I’ve found keeps you from getting gnawed down to nothing with the jealousy, fear, and guilt that seems to go hand in hand with writing. Tell someone who isn’t a writer. When I was querying in high school, I had a few people ask me why the fuck I kept running to the computers like an addict between every class. So I explained querying to them, with a flow-chart. All paths lead to rejection–query, partial, full–except this one […]



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