The Writing: On designing a writing life

There’s a distinction between the years in which you are figuring out what it means to pursue writing professionally and the years when you actually start navigating it.

The Writing: On designing a writing life

[Photo by Yanyi: Cherry blossoms late in season. Already their petals begin to slump on the way to falling down, brilliant pink and delicate.]

Author’s Note: This is your last week to get Starting a Paid Newsletter for Independent Writers for half off! The launch code F21KICKSTART will expire on Friday. And if you have been wanting to work with me independently, you can do so until November in a limited run of mentorship sessions.

Finally, Writing Space continues this Sunday.


There’s a distinction between the years in which you are figuring out what it means to pursue writing professionally and the years when you actually start navigating it. Those earlier years are filled with discoveries: reading literary magazines, submitting to them, and getting rejected and accepted for the first time. Learning, over time, about prestige through a stack of form rejections, going to a first literary conference—a weeklong retreat or two, a giant conference or three—and taking classes from one genre to the next, exploring as deeply as you can that feeling of discovery once reserved only for reading books. The beginning of a literary career is about understanding that you can be the writer on the other side.

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