Uncorking Creativity

Amanda Eyre Ward doesn't think you should beat yourself up too much

Uncorking Creativity

The most important advice I've ever received about writing came from my friend, Andrew Sean Greer. We were having lunch in San Francisco, and Andy said, "Let's order Champagne." I told him I hadn't written anything wonderful that day, and didn't deserve bubbly. 

Andy looked me square in the eye and said, "Amanda, the whole writing life is hard. It's hard to be alone all day typing, it's hard to sell a book, it's hard to promote a book, readers might not love you, you might not win awards, etcetera. This is your life. At least you can be proud of yourself."

I've tried to take his words to heart. Every day I work – whether it be typing pages, thinking about a book, researching, or reading, I try to be proud of myself.  That's all you get, in the end: the joy of typing alone, the sense you give yourself of accomplishment. The rest can come and go.  So order the Champagne.

Amanda Eyre Ward is the author of the novels Sleep Toward Heaven, How To Be Lost, Forgive Me and Close Your Eyes, as well as a short story collection, Love Stories in This Town, which includes the story "Miss Montana's Wedding Day," a prize-winning story in the 1999 Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest.

The Austin Chronicle is currently accepting submissions for its annual Short Story Contest. (Postmark deadline Dec. 10, 2012; see more rules and regs.) Check the Books blog all week for more encouraging bits from published authors and past Short Story Contest winners.

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More Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest
"A Celebration of Writing, and Reading"
Louis Black's notes on the first Chronicle Short Story Contest

Robert Faires, June 14, 2017

Short Story Contest Update
Short Story Contest Update
Of the 410 total entries, we're down to 10

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2013

More by Amanda Eyre Ward
A Journey Through Hell
A Journey Through Hell
Óscar Martínez talks about riding the rails through Mexico to America

Oct. 11, 2013

'Forgive Me: A Novel'
'Forgive Me: A Novel'
An excerpt

June 15, 2007


Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest, Short Story Contest, Amanda Eyre Ward

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