Joyce Carol Oates Gives Writing Advice in 140 Characters

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2012 - Portraits
Acclaimed writer Joyce Carol Oates recently took to twitter to dispense some sound writing office. All of her tweets can be read here. My favorite tweet is “The first sentence can be written only after the last sentence has been written. FIRST DRAFTS ARE HELL. FINAL DRAFTS, PARADISE.” This advice should be included in the syllabus of every undergraduate creative writing class and MFA class. I also like her advice to “Be your own editor/ critic. Sympathetic but merciless” and to “Read, observe, listen intensely!–as if your life depended upon it.” The last piece of advice is especially important as a way to cure writer’s block. I find myself most inspired and ready to write after reading and observing, which require space, time, silence, and patience. To add to Oates’ tweet and to paraphrase T.S. Eliot, poetry is words on the page surrounded by silence. So, if you’re been in a writing funk lately, dig into a book, or go somewhere and observe a scene. It will help, I promise.


About Brian Fanelli

I'm a poet, teacher, music junkie and much more. My first chapbook of poems, Front Man, was published in 2010 by Big Table Publishing. My full-length book of poems, All That Remains, was published in 2013 by Unbound Content. My latest book, Waiting for the Dead to Speak, was published in the fall of 2016 by NYQ Books. My work has also been published by The Los Angeles Times, World Literature Today, Harpur Palate, Boston Literary Magazine, Kentucky Review, Verse Daily, Spillway, Portland Review, and several other publications. My poetry has also been featured on "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor. Currently, I teach English full-time at Lackawanna College.
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