Write Interesting @#$!

This (re)tweet came across from my good friend Miranda from Viable Paradise.  It reminded me of a little story…

One of my friends is best selling crime author Donald Harstad (Eleven Days, Known Dead, and Code 61 among others).  Don is a former Sheriff’s deputy from just south of Decorah and his stories all take place in the Midwest.  They’re quite gripping and have earned him a number of accolades.  He’s also a lot of fun to just to chat with and is a great guy.

Some years ago, I attended a book reading Don gave at the local library and he told a story about writers.  It goes a bit like this …

Don was invited to teach at a writing workshop out East.  The focus was on Mystery and Crime and one of the other teachers was a rather famous author, someone big in the genre (afraid I don’t recall his name).  In any case, at one point the students were asked to spend 20 minutes writing a short piece.   As the students started writing, Don, seated next to Famous Author, mentioned that he had hated critiquing these sort of exercises.

Famous Author waved a hand and said, “Here’s a tip.  See that one?” and pointed at a student who was writing furiously.  It was continuous without a pause.  “That will be shit.  Now look at that one.”

This next student would write furiously for a few moments, then stop and stare up at the ceiling or tap his pen against his cheek.  Then he’s start writing again.  After a few lines, the process would repeat itself.

Famous Author said, “That too shall be shit, but it will be interesting shit.”

Don now has a plaque above his writing desk that says:

Strive to Write Interesting Shit

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