Commonplace

Q. What’s the best bit of advice about writing you’ve ever gotten?

A. What George Plimpton told me in a letter when, many years ago—I think it was 1966, and I’d sent him a story for a Paris Review contest and a novel for Paris Review Editions (its first incarnation): “You’re not a novelist and maybe you’re not a short story writer as well.” I won’t say this is good advice for every writer, but it sure got me to write even harder than I was. It got me going in a way that flattery or praise wouldn’t have: I knew I had to inure myself against all criticism of my work and just write what I wanted to write and take the consequences, and also to write better than I was doing.”

–Stephen Dixon, in interview, One Story (issue #16, 20 February 2003)

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation, RogerEbert.com, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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