Slow Learner

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Lake of Earth is nearly a year old. As a way to mark that, I thought I’d list some things I’ve learned over the past few years. Some of this might seem painfully basic, but they’re lessons that’ve taken me a while to get right.

1. Do the Work

I had a professor in undergrad, Rebecca Gorman-O’Neill, who told us that “writers write.” This seems like obvious advice, but I didn’t do a great job of it after graduation. From 2008-2010, I wrote very little. I’d chip away at existing stories once or twice a month or write first drafts I never returned to. I almost never submitted work. I’m not sure what I was waiting for. I told myself that I was collecting ideas, that I only wanted to write when I was “inspired.” Those reasons were bullshit. I just didn’t want to do the work. While I discovered a lot of great authors in that time (Gary Lutz, Blake Butler, and Aimee Bender to name a few), I had zero disciple, so I never got finished anything.

In early 2011, I started writing on a schedule and sending out work. Later on in the year, the work started getting published. I also began writing in a journal about what I was reading, and that kind of close analysis helped my stories. In this article about Maria Bamford, her mantra is reportedly “Do the work.” It’s good advice for all realms of life. If you want to do something well, you’re going to have to put in the hours.

Continue reading Slow Learner

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Lake of Earth

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Lake of Earth is available to order today.

You can purchase it through Caketrain for $9, or buy it with another book of theirs for $13, shipping included. You can also purchase it from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

There’s an excerpt from the book available here.

You can read more about the creation of the book here.

Thank you so much to Caketrain editors Amanda Raczkowski and Joseph Reed for their careful editing and design of the collection. It’s been a great process to a be a part of, and I’m terribly proud of the book.