Wisdom from the Masters via Podcasts.

Today’s topic is tips and writing advice from teachers, mentors, and other inspirational figures. I’m going to start with a tip for how to find this advice: Podcasts!

I may be late to the party but I only recently learned that you can use the search function on most podcast listening apps to find episodes featuring those authors you most admire. You just type, say, Tommy Orange, into the search bar and, voila! you’ve got hours of recorded lectures, panel conversations, Q&A, and more where he is talking about his writing craft. Amazing!

Here are a few nuggets I’ve gotten this way:

Speaking of Tommy Orange: Make your sentences shine. Or disappear. Tommy Orange’s work is so incredible at the sentence level. And this advice really distills his mastery. Assemble words so they unfurl a new idea or connection or thought so beautifully that the reader can’t help but stop and re-read their new favorite sentence over and over again marveling at the craftsmanship. OR use words to move the plot or action so easily and seamlessly that the reader hardly notices the words moving the story forward.

From Barbara Kingsolver: Don’t smoke. Or, in other words, give yourself space to grow old. Because as you age and accumulate wisdom, you’ll have a deeper well from which to share. I love this advice, in part, because it makes me feel better about coming to writing and publishing at an, er, older age. Maybe I’m not too late after all! 🙂

And from Elizabeth Gilbert: Enjoy! Yes, there are parts of writing and a writing life that are hard. But there are also parts that are so sweetly decadent and we should embrace and celebrate those with abandon.

What tips and advice from the masters do YOU find most inspiring?

Author: Ehsaneh

Ehsaneh Sadr is an Iranian-American novelist and activist with a PhD in International Relations. She has worked, in various capacities, on campaigns related to Palestinian human rights, Iranian sanctions, access to credit for rural villagers, and safe spaces for children in crisis. She currently works with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to create the cultural and infrastructure changes needed to support a shift away from carbon-based modes of transportation. Ehsaneh currently lives in Northern California with her husband and two children but also considers Washington DC, Salt Lake City, and Tehran to be home.