Post to the Host

Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

Send GK Your Question »


August 24, 2009 | 1 Comment

Post to the Host:
Mr. Keillor, I am a 16 year old writer, and I love it, but I can never find ideas. Writer's block to the max! Unfortunately, it happens quite frequently. Do you have any advice for an aspiring young writer?

Jackie B.
Bristol, CT


The first obligation of a young writer is to describe your parents, a major project. I also think you should start a novel right away. I put mine off for years, thinking I wasn't ready, but it's invaluable experience ---- to set out to write a sustained work of prose fiction of a hundred-thousand words or so. The main character is you yourself, it's set in Bristol, and your parents are definitely in it. Your main character has to get in trouble and then get out. And maybe that's the problem here, Jackie. You've been too good, too obliging, helpful, kind, considerate, thoughtful, generous, responsible, etc etc. It's hard to be interesting writing about pure goodness. Find some vein of evil within yourself and work from that. You don't need to enact these things in real life, by the way. Unless, of course, you want to. The way to write a novel is to write a few hundred words a day, every day, no fail. So try it. Maybe it'll be a big failure, but big failures can build the foundation for great success. Good luck.

1 Comment

I had a dream about you singing to me and decided to e-mail you. I believe that North Star Press of St Cloud needs your help to keep from 'giving up.' They are a 'mom and pop' business mainly publishing Minnesota authors. It would be a great loss... Please visit, buy books and 'feature' their books on your show. Thanks for your consideration and assistance. Sincerely. Best regards.

Previous Post:

Next Post:

Post to the Host Archive

Complete Post to the Host Archive

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy