We’re entering the time of year many of us think of as vacation time. Or as I like to call it: reading season. For readers of this magazine, it’s also a time when we might steal extra time writing – when the kids are at the beach, when the family has gone off for a day trip, when we sequester in a cabin by the lake, when we stop the grind of the academic calendar to let our writing minds be free of official deadlines.
When I spoke this spring with Diane Paulus, the Tony Award-winning director at American Repertory Theater and writer of numerous creative theatrical events, I asked her what she does to refresh. “It’s a cliché,” she said, “but whenever you start moving, the ideas unlock. Whenever I get stuck creatively, I go outside and run maybe two miles and get the blood flowing and that helps.”
This issue is devoted to the many various ways in which writers get the blood flowing – whether through inspiring locations, current events, unexpected twists of fate, motivational goals and an inexplicably primal inner voice that says: “Drop everything else and write.”
Aaron Sorkin, the uber-successful screenwriter, puts it this way in our lead story by TV insider Kinney Littlefield: “Once you get on a roll, you just go. You don’t stop for lunch, you don’t stop for red lights.”
Indeed, there’s no stopping Sorkin – or our other featured authors: Taiye Selasi, Amish Tripathi and Adam Johnson. We hope our interviews with them will nourish your craft and mission as a writer.
Speaking of craft, Stuart Horwitz’s tips for working through drafts are invaluable steps for thinking carefully and effectively about the stages of your manuscript at a micro and macro level. Beloved writing teacher Roy Peter Clark, whom we’re delighted to have back in these pages, drives the point home with his advice on writing short. Clark takes on the universe this time – and why shouldn’t he?
And why shouldn’t you? It’s reading time. It’s writing time. Take this issue of The Writer to the beach, on the train, into a quiet room. And get busy.