John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist | #11

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“Sometimes when one cannot stand the story or novel one is working on, it helps to write something else—a different story or novel, or essays venting one’s favorite peeves, or exercises aimed at passing the time and incidentally polishing up one’s craft. The best way in the world for breaking a writer’s block is to write a lot. Jabbering away on paper, one gets tricked into feeling interested, all at once, in something one is saying, and behold, the magic waters are flowing again. Often it helps to work on a journal, since that allows the writer to write about those things that most interest him, yet frees him of the pressure of achievement and encourages him to develop a more natural, more personal style.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
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John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism . including . On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away. – j.kiley