The Burden Of Rules
So what is the solution? xoJane writer Sarah Seltzer suggests: “A writing workshop should always begin with this addition to the rules: ‘If you approach a word, a phrase, an idea or a cultural reference that is unfamiliar to you, it’s your job as a reader to figure it out from context or look it up.’ … The reader’s unschooled ignorance becomes the burden, not the writer’s ‘exotic’ references.” I wonder. Even as an instructor, I have had the experience of having to tread carefully around race.
"When Defending Your Writing Becomes Defending Yourself"—NPR Code Switch, July 20, 2014
"It’s such a comfortable pose, gathering around women and deciding what we think of them—hot or not, alluring or tragic, moral or immoral, responsible or irresponsible, capable of consent or incapable of consent, maternal or neglectful."
— The Problem with Esquire’s Praise of 42-Year-Old Women & Amy Poehler | New Republic
Words of wisdom from Rebecca Traister.
"If I had a staff of even one person, or could tolerate a small amphetamine habit, or entertain the possibility of weekly blood transfusions, or had been married to Vera Nabokov, or had a housespouse of even minimal abilities, a literary life would be easier to bring about. (In my mind I see all your male readers rolling their eyes. But your female ones—what is that? Are they nodding in agreement? Are their fists in the air?)"
— Lorrie Moore on the Difficulties of Constructing a Writing Life | Longreads
"Don’t think about how your characters sound, but how they see. Watch the world through their eyes—study the extraordinary and the mundane through their particular perspective. Walk around the block with them, stroll the rooms they live in, figure out what objects on the cluttered dining room table they would inevitably stare at the longest, and then learn why."
— 5 Writing Tips: Dinaw Mengestu
"This is the point in such blogposts at which I usually begin drawing some kind of lesson from what I’ve described. And if there is one here, it’s this: I am emphatically not an example of someone who first was too busy with her kids to write, and then finally wasn’t too busy with her kids to write; so wrote. I am an example of someone who was a complete self-sabotaging head case, blocked, miserable, wasting days, years, despairing, depressed, mistreating the people around me, mistreating myself, certain that in old age I would feel a regret so keen that I feared that emotion more than I feared eventual death."
— Before I Wrote: A Collage Of Former Selves | Beyond The Margins
On self-sabotage and writing, by Robin Black. Very intense and important read for me.