Doing the hustle
I’m thinking about doing the hustle because 2022 has been a year of starting and finishing several projects at once, and then doing the hustle is really the life of a writer, because writing is always this strange side gig, a second job, a third job, a hobby that takes over your life, an addiction, a religion, whether you’re publishing your first novel or writing your first novel.
And you’re usually out of breath, catching your breath, not catching your breath, hustling.
So I’m taking stock of a couple of recent projects that have reached milestones.
One is my new book … The Art of Brevity, which is coming out in February of 2023. Look for more soon because this newsletter will focus on the aesthetics of brevity with excerpts from the book, exercises, and more.
The other milestone is … a reality TV show about writing.
Yeah, you heard right. It’s called America’s Next Great Author. Think American Idol, but for writers. Think The Real World, but for writers. But think of a show that’s more about the joys of creativity and community, not the grind and gruel of competition.
One key to everything I do is working with good, fun, thoughtful people, so I'm thankful to team up with the fantastic Book Doctors, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, the all-around wonderful author Kwame Alexander, and the amazing TV producer Sydnye White to make a show that elevates writers and gives more people a seat at the publishing table.
We will be filming the pilot this fall in San Francisco (guided by the film magic of Daniel Cowles).
Submissions will be opening up soon. If you are interested in getting updates on the show, including casting calls, writer's tips, and submission guidelines, please go to our website and sign up!
Here’s Kwame’s announcement:
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
Because dancing to “The Hustle” is pretty fun
You can’t watch this music video and not want to dance. And not want to write, love, paint, do cartwheels, play the kazoo, and hustle, hustle, hustle. I dare you.
Because I’ve got a work problem
A good friend recently told me I had a work problem. I get it. Maybe. Yes. The thing is, I’m only at peace when I’m making something. Doesn’t matter what it is, a TV show or a novel, a scone or some roasted Brussel sprouts.
Maybe it’s not a work problem but a hustle problem (see the definition below). I don’t like being in one place for too long. I’ve made striving into a religion. I like the idea of meditation, but I’m uncomfortable with stillness.
On that note … after watching the video above, I think we need discos to come back—places where people can get dressed up in flamboyant, sexy clothing and dance together, together in the ways they do in this video, not as they do now. It pains me that I don’t have enough time or money to open up a discotheque. Please call me if you want to open up an old-style 1970s discotheque. I’m in.
Because the lyrics to “The Hustle”
Do it! Do it! Do it! Do the Hustle! Do the Hustle! Do the Hustle! Do the Hustle! Do the Hustle! Do it! Do the Hustle! Do the Hustle! Do the Hustle! Do the Hustle! Do the Hustle! Do the Hustle! That's it—those are the complete lyrics.
Because I like to talk to writers about writing
Because a quote
“So many losses routinely precede the final one now: loss of memory, mobility, autonomy, physical strength, intellectual aptitude, a longtime home, the kind of identity derived from vocation, whole habits of being, and perhaps above all a certain forward-tilting sense of self—the feeling that we are still becoming, that there are things left in this world we may yet do.”
― Kathryn Schulz, Lost & Found: A Memoir
Because a haiku
The noises in the silence —instruction some would say
Because a word: hustle
Hustle comes from the Dutch husselen, to shake. I like it because it’s a word of movement. It’s a word you can’t quite pin down. It’s a word of aspiration. It’s a word of striving. Yet it’s a word of fun.
Dictionary definitions: To rush or hurry. To push or force one's way. To sell or get by questionable or aggressive means. To shake or throw together confusedly or in a disorderly manner. To get by trying hard. To dance the hustle.
To be a writer, you’ve got to do it all.
Because my book is now a year old!
Because sometimes it’s nice to hustle on a writing retreat
I'm headed out on a writing retreat/adventure in Oaxaca, Mexico in December, and I'd love for you to join me.
Wayfaring Writers is taking a group of writers to Oaxaca December 4-13, 2022, for ten days of inspiration, community, food and wine (including chocolate and mezcal tasting and cricket eating)—and the opportunity to talk writing, do some writing, and be around fun and interesting writers.
I'll be there offering talks and support for writers. I love retreats like this because of the unexpected conversations I have with other writers. It’s the meandering conversations at the end of a dinner or on an early morning walk that seem to matter the most.
Because more about me
My essays on creative writing have appeared in The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Lit Hub, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer.