Introducing The Blunt Instrument: An Advice Column for Writers

Sometimes, as writers, we need gentle encouragement — someone to tousle our hair and kiss our boo-boos. Other times, we just need tough love — someone to shove us off the diving board and into the deep end.

This column is for the second group, the people who are looking for hard advice: hard to hear, and hard to follow. Maybe you’ve been blocked for a year and need to hear something more useful than “Your book will be waiting for you when you come back to it.” Maybe your manuscript keeps getting rejected and you don’t know why, and you need to hear something other than “Faulkner got rejected a lot too!” Maybe you’re addicted to clichés and bad metaphors (see previous paragraph; that’s terrible writing!).

In this new monthly advice column, I’ll respond to real questions (anonymous or not; your choice) about writing. Questions will be selected based on relevance to the Electric Literature audience and my personal whims. I may not be gentle, but I will endeavor to be useful. You can send your questions to blunt@electricliterature.com.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed therapist, nor am I tenured professor. I do have an MFA in poetry and have published several books. I also give pretty good advice (sometimes unsolicited).

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Thank You!