Cover Your Tracks: Annie Dillard on Why Much of What You Write Will (And Should) Be Discarded

What does a writer have in common with a shoe salesman? A shoe salesman is less free, but more useful to society. “A shoe salesman – who is doing others’ tasks, who must answer to two or three bosses, who must do his job their way, and must put himself in their hands, at their place, during their hours – is nevertheless working usefully. Further, if the shoe salesman fails to appear one morning, someone will notice and miss him.” Annie Dillard begins her brilliant writing guide with advice that is hard to accept. All writers, she says, must discard…

Advice From Rilke’s Letters To a Young Poet That Will Make You a Better Writer And a Better Person

Being an artist is a privilege. But all writers, poets, painters, artists know how difficult it can be to follow your creative instincts and make a life of it. There are days when you think to yourself, is it worth it? Let me stop you right there, and introduce you to a man called Rainer Maria Rilke. For almost a century, Rilke’s letters have been the go-to manual for all young artists struggling with the life of the artist. Rilke’s voice is like a gentle hand reaching out, pulling you out of the misery of a bad day, restoring your faith in the creative life…