By William Walsh
I am the director of the low-residency Master of Fine Arts program at Reinhardt University, approximately 40 miles north of Atlanta, in a little town called Waleska, nestled at the foothills of the Etowah Valley. I teach students with essentially the same Socratic Method, one-on-one, very personalized instruction and criticism. We help people become the best writer they can, using a model that has worked for so many people.
If you want to write a book, whether it is a novel or a non-fiction book on micro-gardening, here is my advice: To be a writer you must have discipline. There is no exception to this rule. It’s like building a house. If you don’t put up lumber every day, you will never build the house. You cannot build on Saturday. The same holds true for writing. You cannot write on Saturday and expect to complete a book.
Here is the secret:
v Day 1 – write 1 page. That’s all you have to do.
v Day 2 – read yesterday’s page and edit it/make corrections. Write 1 new page.
v Day 3 – read the page from Day 1, edit the page from Day 2, and now, write 1 new page.
v Do this for the rest of your life.
If you will write one page per day, in one year you will have a book. I guarantee that when your book is finished, you will be a much better writer than when you started. One page per day!
What are your writing secrets?
William Walsh is the director of the M.F.A. program at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia. He is also a southern narrative poet in the tradition of James Dickey, David Bottoms, and Fred Chappell. He also attended Southaven High School in Mississippi. His English teach, Frances McGuffey asked him to read Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat, who seven years earlier gave the same book to another student, John Grisham. She deserves a lot of credit because it changed his reading life and appreciation for fiction. In 2018, his new collection of poems, Fly Fishing In Times Square, will be published. Recently, his novels The Boomerang Mattress and Haircuts for the Dead were Finalists and Semi-Finalists in the William Faulkner Pirate Alley Prize. As well, his novel, The Pig Rider, was Finalist in 2015. His most recent collection of poems is Lost In the White Ruins (2014). His other books include: Speak So I Shall Know Thee: Interviews with Southern Writers (McFarland, 1990); The Ordinary Life of a Sculptor (Sandstone, 1993); The Conscience of My Other Being (Cherokee Publishers, 2005); Under the Rock Umbrella: Contemporary American Poets from 1951-1977 (Mercer, 2006); and David Bottoms: Critical Essays and Interviews (McFarland, 2010). His work has appeared in AWP Chronicle, Cimarron Review, Five Points, Flannery O’Connor Review, The Georgia Review, James Dickey Review, The Kenyon Review, Literary Matters, Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, Poetry Daily, Poets & Writers, Rattle, Shenandoah, Slant, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His literary interviews have been published in over fifty journals, and include, among others, Czeslaw Milosz, Joseph Brodsky, A.R. Ammons, Doris Betts, Pat Conroy, Harry Crews, James Dickey, Ariel Dorfman, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Stephen Dunn, Eamon Grennan, Mary Hood, Edward Jones, Madison Jones, Donald Justice, Ursula Leguin, Andrew Lytle, and Lee Smith. **Mr. Walsh, photo is the work of Karley Harmon,