The Secret to Honesty in Writing

Louise Erdrich has some wonderful insights into the craft of writing, in all genres.

In the interview, whilst discussing her beloved notebooks full of scribbles, she says, “I have little pieces of writing that sit around collecting dust, or whatever they’re collecting. They are drawn to other bits of narrative like iron filings.”
I know exactly what she means. When ideas pop into my head, whether it be a story idea, character or some dialogue I’ve overheard, I try to jot it down before I forget it. It’s amazing when some of these little snippets gel together days, months or even years later and slot perfectly into your next piece.

Sometimes, when writing a short story I struggle to find that elusive ‘end’ but Louise states, “when I can’t end a story, I usually find that I’ve actually written past the ending. The trick of course is to go back and decide where the last line hits.” – I’ve never thought of it like that and it’s definitely something to watch out for in future stories.


“It didn’t occur to me that my books would be widely read at all, and that enabled me to write anything I wanted to. And even once I realized that they were being read, I still wrote as if I were writing in secret.”

Author Louise Erdrich, in the Paris Review.

Read the interview

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One thought on “The Secret to Honesty in Writing

  1. I love this, I very much so have to write any ideas down straight away, and if for some reason I have no pen, I tend to use my phones notes or pages app to come back to at home.
    When I return to them I sometimes can blend more ideas together.


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