Hanya Yanagihara, the author of A Little Life, writes on reenacting a version of John Cheever’s short story “The Swimmer” by swimming across Martha’s Vineyard. As she explains it, “Swimming in the ocean is writing a novel; swimming in a pond is writing in a diary.” Pair with Nick Ripatrazone’s Millions essay on Cheever’s classic story.
“This is worth repeating to yourself every day as you sit down at your keyboard: You must write to the end of the story. You must make progress toward that end today. A sentence, a paragraph, a chapter. You must push the story forward, forward, forward. Don’t stop until you get to the end.” Hugh Howey on the Amazon Author Insights blog about how to write a rough draft. Pair with a popular and wonderfully motivating piece by Nick Ripatrazone, “Don’t Worry. Don’t Wait. Write.”
Over at Electric Literature, John Freeman profiles Year in Reading alumnus Ben Lerner, newly minted MacArthur genius and author of two novels in which “the political opens a path for the personal, just as the personal urges him to engage the political.” Freeman writes, “This blending—of perception and politics—comes right out of how Lerner sees the world in real life.” Pair with Christopher Wood’s Millions review of Lerner’s 10:04.
In an in-depth interview for Nomadic Press, Shira Erlichman describes what it's like to make art while living with mental illness. As she puts it, “The thing that is so strange to me is that it was so wide-lensed. Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, you go crazy, like in the movies. You’re just suddenly crazy.’ But there was such a domino effect. One little thing—it’s almost like 70 dominoes lined up in one track that all lead to one conclusion.” Pair with Gila Lyons’s Millions essay on writing through illness.