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Give Up Writing To Write? Videos About Writing

Giving up writing? That was the key for author Jonathan Kozol. He’s a non-fiction writer who wrote mostly about education. His Death at an Early Age: the Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools has sold over 2 million copies and won the National Book Award in Science.

What do you think?


{ 10 comments… add one }
  • I liked this interview. One thing he said that rang true with me was that he was still learning his craft. You never stop learning and anyone who thinks they know everything really knows nothing.

    It’s true also that when you have something under your belt your writing becomes more interesting. Mine is much better now than it was when I was twenty-something, because I was still pretty naive then.
    .-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Ocean =-.

    • Anne

      lol, I have days when I wish I didn’t have to learn new stuff… not often, but it happens.

  • As a young writer who left college, much to the admonition of everyone around me, this interview really struck me.

    Though I was told repeatedly about what a mistake I was making leaving college, I felt like it was the right choice for me. College would have been excellent if I was training in a technical or medical field, but I was not. I was a writer out of place, drifting through the myopic haze of endless college days. It wasn’t the place where I belonged.

    My father was one of the few people who understood. “You’re a writer,” he said, “you crave experience.” And since I’ve left college I’ve traveled, met my first boyfriend, joined a LGBT group as it protested a SGA meeting, talked with intellectuals in run down cafes, lived at an egalitarian community, and struck out on my own. I feel like I never would have experienced any of these things if I allowed myself to stay in college – which was draining me physically and mentally.

    Also, it strikes me that many writers seemed to have been abused or experienced a trauma in their early age – could it be that this negative experience pushed them to seek catharsis in the written word when otherwise they would have not?

    • Anne

      Yeah, Autumn, the drama of a writer’s life has become a cliche because it’s so often true. I never finished college either, and just as glad.

    • Autumn

      Yeah, but on the flip side, I know plenty of people who did much of the same stuff in college. It’s what you make it. You can study abroad or even stay in one place on a college campus and have amazing experiences to write about. I did finish college and I’m glad, yet I’m probably in the same place as you, so I do agree that the typical path of college is not for everyone. I guess there are different ways of getting to the same place.

  • My brother, who was a police officer in Tucson, AZ, revealed this bit of insight to me just before I graduated from a creative writing program. It’s impossible to say anything in a creative or literary way without having lived through something a little extraordinary.

    At his advice I took a look at my favorite writers–Joseph Conrad, Hemingway, Joseph Wambaugh, CS Lewis, William Manchester–each of them had been to hell and back sometime in their early lives. Now hell may be a bit farther than is necessary, but still creative writing cannot be pursued for its own sake.

    • Anne

      I disagree… I think it can be pursued for its own sake but probably won’t work until a crisis or two have passed. But simple lives, without much seeming drama can create some really nifty stuff… and now you’re going to ask for an example… let me think, maybe I’m wrong.

      • Anne, you’re right. Sometimes the simple stuff is really great. But simple lives themselves can be deceiving – they often aren’t so simple. Poets seem to fall into this category a lot (Seamus Heaney comes to mind). What I tend to find though is the work that speaks to me the most is still reflexive. Even the most introspective poem can reach out, and gives the reader a new insight. So sure, pursuing writing to be a good writer is great, but I guess I think that’s more of the ‘craft’ side that Mr Kozol talked about.

  • I can relate to Jonathan. I was so focused on being the “freelance writer” in Arizona that I believe I sabotaged myself and work. I now know Arizona is not the state for me so I’ll be moving out in June. I thought I’d be planted in the state forever, but the universe has other plans. I look at my time spent in Arizona like an addict who goes to rehab and is clean and ready to live life with a new perspective. In my case, my rehab was transforming myself and rediscovering my passion for writing.

    I “let go” of freelance writing and now I have a new client. I would like to write on topics that I’m passionate about and will help people. I believe this is why this client has come into my life. I also love creative writing which is why I’m drawn to screenwriting, short stories, poems, and fiction. I’m working on my ghost/love/historical fiction novel and have two more which are Young Adult novels.
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..How do You Begin Freelance Writing? =-.

    • Anne

      Acceptance and letting go seem to be two keys to life don’t they.

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