Packet 4: Your Writing Craft

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“For me, the work is always the important thing. If you love the work, if you love the thing you’re writing, if you can’t wait to see what happens, if you want to make the sentences better and better, if you want to see if you can resolve all of these things you’ve set up, that’s what’ll keep it going. But it’s not imagining you’re going to eventually arrive at some place where you feel like you’re not a fraud. I have yet to meet a writer who’s gotten there.

— Jess Walter

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Jess Walter is the author of six novels, one book of short stories, and one nonfiction book. He’s a former National Book Award finalist and winner of an Edgar Allan Poe Award, his work has been translated into thirty languages, and his essays, short fiction, criticism, and journalism have been published in The Best American Short StoriesThe Best American Nonrequired ReadingHarper’sEsquireMcSweeney’sBylinerPlayboyESPN the MagazineDetails, and many other publications.

Jess Walter

The best piece of advice I ever got was this: prioritize your actual creative work. When you’re in a lull, do the spreadsheet side of being a writer and the analytical-reading side of being a writer. But when you feel like writing, write, and don’t worry about looking at publications, don’t worry about writing letters to the editor. When you are in the mode of writing, you should write. That should be the first thing.

— Laura Da'

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Laura Da’ (pronounced “day”) is a poet and a public school teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and a recipient of a 2015 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship. Her first chapbook, The Tecumseh Motel, was published in Effigies II, and the University of Arizona Press published her first full-length manuscript, Tributaries, in 2015.