10 things for writers this week

Writing well by planned accident…

Hey there, happy Sunday! And Happy Father’s Day to my dad, the best dad.

Here are 10 things for writers this week:

  1. “I’m not really capable of writing something that I think is good on purpose, but I am capable of writing something that I think is good, or that I’m proud of, by accident. So I have slowly come to understand how I can put myself in the way of accidents.” Jonathan Safran Foer gets a lot of criticism for his books (and other…choices), but I have always really liked his writing. On the occasion of his touring again for the paperback release of Here I Am, check out his honest conversation with Otherppl host Brad Listi.
  2. Preach: “One of my greatest contentions about editors — at least editors of my generation — is that they have an affinity for anonymity. Traditionally, I think, editors have not been forthcoming about any impact they’ve had on a novel.” Publisher/editor Fred Ramey has just released a book I can’t wait to read in full: The Insect Dialogues is a series of conversations between him and writer Marc Estrin about how much influence editors have, but don’t talk about.
    + One of the better known examples of heavy editing against an author’s wishes has to be Raymond Carver, whose What We Talk About When We Talk About Love was so transformed by editor Gordon Lish that Carver lost all confidence in it and begged Lish to “stop production.” Years later, Carver’s second wife published the unedited collection as Beginners. Worth a read — editing isn’t as invisible as you may think.
  3. “I am contractually obligated — and I love saying contractually obligated in this context — to be at that desk writing for four hours a day. My goal is to write 20 to 25 poems a day.” What it’s like to be Brian Sonia-Wallace, the Mall of America’s first Writer-in-Residence.
    + The new U.S. poet laureate, Tracy K. Smith, says, “Poems are friendly, and they teach us how to read them.” (I like her take on The Good Life.)
  4. Photographer Thibaud Poirier travelled around Europe photographing vacant libraries. The architecture, the symmetry, the solitude, the BOOKS…I could stare at these for hours.
    + HOW DID I MISS THIS IN VENICE?! I’m so mad at myself. Must go back.
  5. I read this book in one day this week, but I’ll be thinking about it for the rest of my life. Incredible. (A couple days later, I ordered another book Salinger wrote about the same family.)
    + Salinger had some strong opinions about what should appear on his book covers. He would not appreciate what the dog did to mine. Damnit, dog.
  6. NaNoWriMo is for slackers, apparently. Could you write a novel in three days? (The winner gets a publishing deal!) (You could use Pacemaker to help break up, and meet, your word count goals.)
  7. “If you want your work to have even the tiniest chance of lasting — this is a dream hope; a stage of adolescence; your writing will not last, but it may hang around for a year or two —it must be well structured.”
  8. My favorite online read this week, and a great reminder for all of us: Good things don’t scale.
  9. I’ve had a couple authors this year opt to publish anonymously. If you’re considering doing so as well, here’s a primer on how to choose and set up a pen name.
  10. Welcome, welcome, welcome to the first group of Imperfect Writers! The presale is now closed, but if you want to be notified when it opens again, you can sign up here.

Thanks for reading! See you next Sunday.


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