One of my all time favourite poets, Steven Heighton recently finished a week long post as editor of The Afterword and as a parting gesture, he left us with ’31 moments of clarity’, that he would have given to his much younger self starting out in the craft of writing.
Some of these hit me with all the force of an angry mule’s hoof. Here’s a taste of Heighton’s wisdom:
Could anyone else have written this thing? If Yes, start again.
In the long run, curiosity and stamina trump talent.
Be wary of the “respectability” that comes with even modest success. The respectable lose their yen for transcendence and grow obsessed with fortressing a social position—two changes that contaminate the creative sourcewaters.
The writing life, like life in general, has a sacramental and a secretarial side. As years pass and duties accrue, the secretarial, clerical mode can grow like a lymphoma and start to squeeze life from the sacramental.
Cast a spell and the small flaws don’t matter.
You can read the complete series here… I know I am better for it.
Tonight, the secretarial side is being put on hold…