clicksandhauntingclocks asked: As a hugely successful writer, you must get asked all the time "what are your tips for new writers?" I've seen this question floating around writer's blog and it seems to be given the equivalent of literary eye roll, "just write." I understand that response but when you are "just writing" or when you yourself were writing in the earlier stages of your career did you ever think what you were writing was terrible? In your experience is this feeling a universal insecurity or a sign of bad writing?


My advice?  Socialize and study people.  Listen to their stories and look for patterns that will allow you to link several similar anecdotes into a longer narrative.  Study the natural storytelling methods people intuitively use — how they pace a story, introduce new details, reveal the ending.   That’s why my early work took place in support groups or twelve-step groups:  because I wanted to hang out in spaces where people told stories and duplicate their natural methods.  Out loud, oral storytelling is almost a lost art.  Stand-up comedians do it, but my goal all along has been to revive dramatic story telling, not just humor.  So, go to where people tell good stories, and just listen.  ( noisy bars are not good places, neither are chat rooms because you lose the natural cadence of speech )  Good luck.