Countdown to Muse 2019: Impossible Writing by Katrin Schumann

The Muse and the Marketplace 2019 kicks off on April 5th at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. This year’s theme is writing in a time of upheaval — whether such upheaval is personal, political, artistic, or all of the above. In anticipation of the conference, we’ve asked Muse 2019 presenting authors to describe a time when it was impossible for them to write, but they wrote anyway. How did they do it? What did they write? Our next presenter in the series is Katrin Schumann, author of The Forgotten Hours.

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m horribly, painfully envious of writers who write every day, producing words and sentences that flow into a coherent narrative. That’s often not the case for me. When I started writing my novel, The Forgotten Hours, I really struggled. Even then, before #metoo, I recognized that the particular story I wanted to tell was complex and provocative. It was intimidating trying to pull that off.

I went on what was supposed to be a glorious two-week writing residency in Provincetown, and I have never been more miserable. I squeaked out less than 500 words.

There’s no magic bullet. I just kept trying; I couldn’t help myself. Ultimately, writers write because it’s the way we process the world. After a few years, deep into revisions, I finally started having fun; writing became a playful experience again. The words were flowing, the characters breathing and changing, the details popping. Ultimately I succeeded, through sheer pigheadedness: I wrote the book I set out to write. You really just have to keep turning up.

You can catch Katrin’s craft discussion, “Developing Your Nonfiction Book” on Friday, April 5th at 3:45pm and “Getting Media Attention for Your Book” on Sunday, April 7th at 10:00am at the Muse. For all the latest Muse news, follow #Muse19.

Katrin Schumann is the author of the novel The Forgotten Hours (Lake Union, 2019) and numerous nonfiction books. She is the Program Coordinator of the Key West Literary Seminar. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and in MA prisons, through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. Her work has been featured on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, as well as other national and international media outlets, and she has a regular column on GrubWrites. Katrin can be found at, and on Twitter and Instagram: @katrinschumann.

About the Author

GrubWrites is a space for the writing and reading community to share ideas and seek advice, a place where writers at the very beginning of their careers publish alongside established authors. Book lovers, we bring you reviews, recommendations, and conversations with exciting new authors to keep you up to speed on all things lit. Writers, this is your one stop shop for expert craft talk, opinions on how we learn and teach writing, and essential advice about the publishing industry.

Plus, we want to hear from you! Our ongoing call for submissions is open to literary community members of all types and persuasions. We want to hear from students, teachers, authors, readers, editors, agents, publicists, and any devotee of the written word. If you have something to say about writing, reading, the publishing industry, or anything related to the literary world, this is the place to voice it. We’re particularly committed to advocating for a diverse range of voices in the literary marketplace and raising the visibility of writers from under-represented communities.

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