One Thing I Do Regret

Scan_Pic0018What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Read it intelligently. Break it down. Try to figure out how the writer has made you feel the way you feel. Anyone who doesn’t read doesn’t have any business writing. –Ann Patchett

I’m so relieved to hear Ann Patchett say this, even though I’ve heard it many times before, because I’ve probably read more than a hundred memoirs in the years since I’ve started scheming my own. And lately I’m reading books pilfered from my son-in-law’s bookshelf, books I would normally snub my nose at, because all this reading of books I gravitate toward has only brought home how much I need to expand my horizons.
I know it’s popular to say “No regrets,” but I do regret not going to college and majoring in English or journalism. I’m a self-taught writer with hundreds of published newspaper columns and magazine articles, most of which were badly in need of another round of editing, and five published books (with more waiting in the wings, of course) that were saved by a team of patient editors who put up with my ignorance as to how badly I needed an editor. And that’s no lie!

Ann Patchett Interview: How I write

Reading Like a Writer

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