Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, longlisted for the National Book Award, is a subtly subversive novel in two halves about impetuous college sweethearts who marry young and learn valuable lessons across three decades about love, art, creativity and power. She shares some hints about keeping the creative urge in check.
1. The blank page should be met with joy, not fear and awe.
2. Nobody ever gets things right on the first pass.
3. Nobody ever gets things right on the tenth pass.
4. Nothing a human being has ever written has been perfect.
5. The imperfections in any artwork are where the mystery and magic live.
6. Write sober. Revise sober. In fact, you get a drink with dinner only if you’ve written that day.
7. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you only write with your brain. Your body is essential in writing, so treat it well. Exercise daily, eat cleanly, live well. A healthy life makes for better writing.
8. Send gifts to your editors, fact-checkers, and copy editors. They will save you more than you know.
9. Time is the most precious currency. Remember that a reader giving you her time is giving you a gift.
10. Be grateful.
Lauren Groff is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Monsters of Templeton, the short story collection Delicate Edible Birds and Arcadia. She has won Pushcart and PEN/O. Henry prizes and been shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers. Her stories have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, One Story and Ploughshares. She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and two sons. Fates and Furies is published in the UK by William Heinemann.