Advice from Those Who've Made It

Publish date:

Everybody’s got that one friend who keeps the group apprised of all things cool and culturally relevant. My close friend, Theresa, is that person for me. Theresa was the first person I knew to have an IPhone, she knows the best restaurants in Chicago that don’t make it into Chicago Magazine and the best little bars that don’t make it onto Yelp, and she’s single-handedly, through a strict regime of mixed CDs and emailed YouTube links, saved me from my propensity to listen to synthesized pop music aimed at 13 year old audiences. She’s always sending me links to interesting news articles and introducing me to cool new websites and blogs, and today she sent me a link to a wonderful writer’s blog that I’ve been obsessing over all day. is a great place to browse when you’re feeling dejected and broke by your life as a writer and you need some inspiration. It consists of interviews with successful writers like Jennifer Egan and Gary Schteyngart who talk about what their lives were like before their success—the jobs where they eked out livings and snuck in writing when the boss’s back was turned, the put-downs they got in their workshops, the drafts they threw away, the rejections they endured, the doubts they felt, the fears of failure, the constant self-doubt.

It all felt very familiar.

Reading these interviews reminded me that if you’re not knotting yourself up with doubt and fear, you’re not working hard enough, you’re not humble enough, and you don’t care enough to put in the work it takes to make it. Any success you have as a writer, no matter how small, is hard won.

And for those of us who are still polishing the drafts of our first books, all that means is that the best is yet to come. Schteyngart says: “Before you publish your first book, there is a sense that you are living an adventure. Something great can happen, something terrible can happen, and nothing can happen, which is the worst of all. But it is exciting.”

And on a totally unrelated note: GO BULLS. GO HAWKS.


Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido: Entertainment and Outrage

Authors Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido explain how they came to co-write their novel and why it's important to them that the readers experience outrage while reading.


Incite vs. Insight (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use incite vs. insight with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!


20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.