“Flexibility and Strength” by Casey Blair
The more I level up, the greater narrative control I need, the stronger I need my vision to be for what my story really is at its core. There will always be people who wish for something different from a story. In the end, though, if I’m the author, the onus is on me to make sure I’m writing my story, the way I think is right. And the ability to do that is a skill, and also, I think, a form of artistic strength.
“Inherit the Word” by Annie Liontas
I was raised to understand work as having direct and immediate impact, and the truth about writing is that it takes decades, sometimes longer, before you can collect your harvest. A life of writing is and is not a privilege; it is and is not a luxury to do this work in the darkness. Lately, I have been trying to tell myself that an honest day’s work for me means achieving honesty on the page, in planting something that may in time offer nourishment to someone.
“On Editing” by Karen Outen
The way that we serve our stories best in revision is in that spirit of expectation, wonder, and, yes, enough fear and trembling to invite the unexpected.
“All In” by Benjamin Percy
The writer is always a careful observer, but if you are constantly evacuating your imagination, your eyes and ears grow even sharper, and you lean forward with hunger for every experience, knowing that it will offer up a card to add to your hand.
This is, after all, a gambler’s trade. All in. Always.
“Scraps” by Trevor Crown
It’s this: don’t be too proud or pure to take scraps. … By all means, let bad work burn, but occasionally try to rescue a salvageable page or two from seven you cringe to recall.
“Mozart Had a Mother-in-Law” by Taiyaba Husain
I’ve been gorgeously funded, and I’ve lived in a two-room windowless apartment above an electrical shop. In each situation, I’ve found it difficult to do the work. Distractions and worries abound. … What inspires me in these moments is knowing that I am part of a fellowship of admirable, stubborn people who face the same challenges I do.