What We're Doing When We Should Be Writing

Welcome back to What We're Doing When We Should Be Writing, Grub's weekly roundup of literary links. In this edition, fight writer's block with advice from runners, catch up on your knowledge of frumpy authors, and celebrate the late Kurt Vonnegut's 90th birthday with some of his best life advice. Come back next week--we'll be waiting with more inspiring reading material.


  • “I was someone who didn’t know how to find the path he was on, the one under his feet. This, it seems to me, is why we have teachers.” Alexander Chee writes in this personal essay of his experience as Annie Dillard’s student; what he learned, gained, and passed on to his own students.

  • "I think all books are medicine, and they are meant for a person who has an ailment of a certain kind." Sandra Cisneros talks about books, superheroes and why everyone should read fairy tales in this interview with The Huffington Post.

  • Now that NaNoWriMo is in full swing, here’s some advice from famous authors on writer’s block in case you’re starting to get stuck.

  • Even if you’re not a runner on top of being a writer, these running lessons can help you approach writer’s block in a new and different way.

  • In response to the upcoming film on the friendship between Thomas Wolfe and his editor Max Perkins, Flavorwire created this tribute to 8 famous author/editor relationships.

  • "The best grumps are the ones who take some joy at their own crotchety-ness, or who at least have a sense of humor about it." Flavorwire's list of the 10 Grumpiest Authors in Literary History.

Patricia Highsmith will yell at you.

  • Have you ever played with Google Labs' Ngram Viewer? It's an addictive tool that lets you search for words and ideas in a database of 5 million books from across centuries. Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel explain how it works in this humorous TED x Boston Talk.

  • In memory of the influential, inspiring, frank, and witty Kurt Vonnegut, who would have turned 90 years old this past Sunday, here is a list of some of his greatest life advice. So it goes.

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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