Words of Wisdom for Weary Writers

By Katrin Schumann

We're all weary. At least I am. I hear that agents are overwhelmed and editors are inundated with submissions. 

One of the most surprising things I learned once I got an agent and started publishing was that navigating the writing world does indeed get easier, but writing itself does not. Call me naive, but I kind of thought that by now I'd be cranking out the books.

I need a constant stream of encouragement as I work. I'm always questioning whether what I'm doing is meaningful, and yet... I have to do it. So here are the "Words of Wisdom" that hang by my desk as I toil away. I hope you find them encouraging. 

1. It's not that complicated

2. Keep it moving

3. You have to figure out what your lock is--and it's key

4. Give yourself the gift of taking yourself seriously

5. You cannot make something better in revision if you have not written the questionnable first draft first

6. Your subconscious is your best friend as a writer

7. Nurse your obsessions

8. Support other writers

9. Comparison is the thief of joy


Katrin Schumann's second novel, This Terrible Beauty, came out last year. Her debut, The Forgotten Hours was a Washington Post and Amazon Charts Bestseller. For more information and to sign up for her newsletter, go to

Photo by Kate Hliznitsova on Unsplash

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About the Author

Katrin Schumann is the author of The Forgotten Hours (Lake Union, 2019), a Washington Post bestseller; This Terrible Beauty, a novel about the collision of love, art and politics in 1950s East Germany (March, 2020); and numerous nonfiction titles. 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 the MA prison system, 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 also be found at, and on Twitter and Instagram: @katrinschumann.

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